Candy Crush Developer Apologises For Cloned Game
Oh, the sweetness of irony. Such sugary goodness, it’s almost as good as candy.
In case you’ve been in a diabetic coma for the past week, the developers of Candy Crush have been the subject of much vilification and talk regarding their decision to trademark some commonplace words such as “candy” and “saga.” It sounds preposterous but they were allowed to do it and that meant that King.com (that’s the company’s name) had a responsibility to enforce their trademark.
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It’s just a pity they decided to pick on an innocent developer who’s game in no way resembled anything King.com had published rather than an actual clone game.
In any case, the grand and comical irony is that King.com has cloned a game.
The company published Pac-Avoid, a blatant clone of Scamperghost. Fortunately, King.com CEO Riccard Zacconi apologised for the clone and went a little further to explain the rest of the company’s madness.
Zacconi admits that King.com should never have published Pac-Avoid.
“At its simplest, our policy is to protect our IP and to also respect the IP of others,” Zacconi said. “We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers–both small and large–have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create.”
“Like any responsible company, we take appropriate steps to protect our IP, including our look-and-feel and trademarks,” he added. “Our goals are simple: to ensure that our employees’ hard work is not simply copied elsewhere, that we avoid player confusion, and that the integrity of our brands remains.”
Zacconi explained that before King launches any games, the company performs a “thorough” search of other games in the marketplace and reviews relevant trademark filings to make sure they are not infringing on others’ IP.
“We have launched hundreds of games. Occasionally, we get things wrong. When we do, we take appropriate action,” he said.
On the subject of trademarks, specifically for “Candy,” Zacconi reiterated what King had said before: the company is only trying to protect its brand and fend off copycats.
“To protect our IP, last year we acquired the trademark in the EU for ‘Candy’ from a company that was in bankruptcy–and we have filed for a similar trademark in the U.S. We’ve been the subject of no little scorn for our actions on this front, but the truth is that there is nothing very unusual about trademarking a common word for specific uses,” Zacconi said. “Think of ‘Time’, ‘Money,’ ‘Fortune,’ ‘Apple,’ and ‘Sun’ to name a few. We are not trying to control the world’s use of the word ‘Candy;’ having a trademark doesn’t allow us to do that anyway. We’re just trying to prevent others from creating games that unfairly capitalize on our success.”
“Separately, we have opposed the game developer Stoic’s application to trademark ‘Banner Saga.’ We don’t believe that Banner Saga resembles any of our games but we already have a series of games where ‘Saga’ is key to the brand which our players associate with King, such as Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and so on,” he said. “All of these titles have already faced substantive trademark and copyright issues with clones.”
“We’re not trying to stop Stoic from using the word Saga but we had to oppose their application to preserve our own ability to protect our own games,” he added. “Otherwise, it would be much easier for future copycats to argue that use of the word ‘Saga’ when related to games, was fair play.”