Candy Crush developer King.com has responded to the recent criticisms after trademarking ‘Candy’ and ‘Saga’ and an indie developer’s claim that they stole his game.
CEO Riccard Zacconi has published an open letter on the King.com website defending the company’s position.
“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 continued. “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.”
Addressing the copying alligations, Zacconi said King should never have published Pac-Avoid, which indie developer Matthew Cox claims is a clone of his game, Scamperghost.
“The details of the situation are complex, but the bottom line is that we should never have published Pac-Avoid,” Zacconi said. “We have taken the game down from our site, and we apologize for having published it in the first place.”
“Let me be clear: This unfortunate situation is an exception to the rule. King does not clone games, and we do not want anyone cloning our games.”
Zacconi explains that King performs a thorough search for other games and relevant trademarks to make sure they do not infringe on others’ intellectual property before a game is published.
“We have launched hundreds of games. Occasionally, we get things wrong. When we do, we take appropriate action.”
He continues by speaking on the subject of their trademarks. “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.”
And continues to defend the decision to oppose Stoic Studios’ The Banner Saga which he claims is “confusingly and deceptively similar” to Candy Crush Saga.
“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. Otherwise, it would be much easier for future copycats to argue that use of the word ‘Saga’ when related to games, was fair play.”
Zocconi concludes by saying the discussion and debate on the issues is “a positive thing” and welcomes any comments or messages and enables you to contact him directly.