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King promises to behave after being caught cloning, trademark trolling

Jonathan Lester
Candy Crush, King, Pac-Avoid, The Banner Saga, Trademark

King promises to behave after being caught cloning, trademark trolling

CEO Shares His Email Address

Candy Crush creators King Games have become public enemy number one recently after bullishly trademarking the word 'Candy,' serving threatening letters to indie developers and getting caught red-handed cloning other games. All while arguing that defending intellectual property is their ultimate goal.

However, there are two sides to every story, so CEO Riccardo Zacconi has penned an open letter explaining their recent actions, while promising to not use their newfound powers for evil.

He also shared his email address, which is interesting. Let's take a closer look.

"At its simplest, our policy is to protect our IP and to also respect the IP of others," Zacconi wrote. "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."

We agree wholeheartedly: protecting intellectual property is undeniably important and increasingly difficult in the derivative mobile space. Zacconi continued by suggesting that trademarking a common word is actually more common than most pundits believe, and promises to use restraint.

"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. 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 trade mark doesn’t allow us to do that anyway. We’re just trying to prevent others from creating games that unfairly capitalise on our success."

This would ring slightly truer if King hadn't already served a notice of opposition to Stoic Games, the developers behind The Banner Saga, despite the excellent SRPG having nothing to do with King's Match-three library - and not owning the "saga" trademark. "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," the CEO argues, before stating that it's just a purely defensive measure. In effect, they're causing a small studio to lose sleep and fret about their future because... it makes them look more menacing? I'm having trouble shaking images of Alderaan here.

"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."

Zacconi also fielded concerns about Pac-Avoid, whose developer blew the whistle on blatant copycat cloning perpetrated by the company. King shrugs it off as a single error of judgement, and has now removed the game. "This unfortunate situation is an exception to the rule. King does not clone games, and we do not want anyone cloning our games," the letter continues. "We have launched hundreds of games. Occasionally, we get things wrong. When we do, we take appropriate action."

So, yeah. About that...

King promises to behave after being caught cloning, trademark trolling

Image courtesy of Imgur (http://imgur.com/SFYvpeE) - thanks for the tip googleberry

Having effectively founded a business on aggressive cloning - and staying just clear enough of trademarked names to avoid any legal action themselves - King's seemingly hypocritical attitude has riled both developers, pundits and the gaming community at large. If you have anything to say, though, you're apparently more than welcome to email Zacconi directly.

"Thank you for taking the time to read what we have to say. Personally, I try to read everything I can on this issue – if you want to contact me directly on this, or indeed any other aspect of what we do – please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] I look forward to hearing from you."

Do feel free to share your responses as an open letter - and with us.


Add a comment10 comments
X10  Jan. 28, 2014 at 17:05

Wow, that company is utterly despicable.

I can also see the person that looks after the [email protected] account coming into work every morning, seeing 100+ emails and hitting "Ctrl+A" "Delete" - Job done.

Zeipher  Jan. 28, 2014 at 22:51

I made a game to mock this for the Candy Jam contest.

King's Saga

JonLester  Jan. 29, 2014 at 10:54

@Zeipher: that is outstanding. 8)

wightmad  Jan. 29, 2014 at 11:03

I made a game to mock this for the Candy Jam contest.

King's Saga

Great work zeipher!

(and good article Jon).

Late  Jan. 29, 2014 at 11:27

Wahahahah - that's fantastic, Zeipher! :D

Zeipher  Jan. 29, 2014 at 11:42

@Zeipher: that is outstanding. 8)

Thanks! Feel free to review it! (_;) Lol!

It still has a couple things that I feel need tweaking, but it's not bad for a day's work. I hate what King have done/are doing, so I felt compelled to take part in the Candy Jam.

DivideByZero  Jan. 29, 2014 at 12:26

Well done Zeipher. I wonder how long till King Games clone that too.

King games really p***ed me off with this. I have deleted Bejewelled... sorry, Candy Crush and I will never touch another one of their games on principle.

Going after the Banner Saga was really f***ing low. Scummers.

No apology will fix this.

X10  Jan. 29, 2014 at 13:01

Zeipher - Genius!

It's not on the Candy Jam entries page, are you going to submit it!?

Zeipher  Jan. 29, 2014 at 18:19

Zeipher - Genius!

It's not on the Candy Jam entries page, are you going to submit it!?

I'll tidy up the audio slightly and then submit it. I have until the 2nd of Feb, but I might as well do it now :)

googleberry  Feb. 2, 2014 at 18:44

This is great Zeipher. Made me chuckle :)

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