Candy Crush Makers: We Should Never Have Published 'Cloned' Game

Candy Crush Makers: We Should Never Have Published 'Cloned' Game

The makers of Candy Crush Saga have issued a lengthy defence of their actions, with regard to a couple of notorious trademark applications and allegations it deliberately cloned a game whose makers reached a deal with another publisher. "Our policy is to protect our IP and also respect the IP of others," writes Riccardo Zacconi, King's CEO and co-founder in a statement appended to his company's corporate site today.

"Like any responsible company, we take appropriate steps to protect our IP, including our look-and-feel and trademarks. 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."

King in the past week has attracted intense criticism and derision for its pursuit of trademarks to the words "candy" and "saga" as they apply to video games; its opposition to the trademark application of The Banner Saga, a game completely different from Candy Crush Saga and lately its publishing of a flash game called Pac-Avoid, accused by the developer of a similar game of being a deliberate clone.

King removed Pac-Avoid from its flash games portal as that controversy boiled up. In the statement, Zacconi concedes that "we should never have published Pac-Avoid," and apologized "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 wrote. "Before we launch any game, we do a thorough search of other games in the marketplace and review relevant trademark filings to ensure that we are not infringing anyone else's IP. We have launched hundreds of games. Occasionally, we get things wrong. When we do, we take appropriate action."

As for the trademarks to "Candy" and "Saga," Zacconi said that King acquired the European trademark for "Candy" from a bankrupt company and filed for the same trademark in the US. "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 says. "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," he writes. "We're just trying to prevent others from creating games that unfairly capitalise on our success.

As for why that requires King to oppose the the trademark of a very different game whose title uses the same word: "We're not trying to stop Stoic [Studios, developers of The Banner Saga] 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."


    We’re just trying to prevent others from creating games that unfairly capitalise on our success.

    Isn't that how Candy Crush was originally created?

    I love how originally they said that "King does not clone other peoples’ games."
    And now they are apologising for publishing a clone.
    Nice. That's a real image booster.


      I love the sidestepping of the issue, by saying it's the exception to the rule.

      "We cloned a game, but we don't clone games"


    Possible translation, "Namco sent us a C&D for having "pac" in the name, and we thought that saying that we accidentally cloned a game was less embarrassing than admitting we deliberately infringed on a trademark whilst engaged in a trademark dispute of our own"

    Kinda serious there, as having a game that they plan to make money off that referances a copyrighted product while also trying to regester a wide trademark was probably enough hypocrisy to make namco take action.

      This is why I hate Trademark Law as it stands... because I don't think Namco actually filed a trademark for 'Pac-'. Yes, to 'Pacman' and 'Miss Pacman' and 'Pacman Jr' and so forth, but not just a blanket, 'Pac-[suffix]'. Which, if that's the case, means King COULD use it because it's not trademarked.

      Which is exactly the kind of behaviour they're hypocritically trying to protect themselves from by being so vague with 'Candy' and 'Saga'. Takes one to know one, I guess?

    our employees’ hard work

    Yeah, because copying other people's work is so hard.

    Speaking of 'cloned games', I've never played it, but isn't candy crush essentially just Bejeweled?

      pretty much. there are a few minor changes but you are essentially swapping one piece of candy with the other adjacent candy to make rows of 3 or more to generate points and progress to the next level.

        a'la puzzle quest?

          a'la Columns on the Sega Genesis.

            Bonus point for referencing Columns, and thanks everyone for the info.

              When I got a Sega master system I swear my dad played columns more than any game I played combined.

    WTF these guys should not be allowed to trademark anything. Every single one of their games is a blatant rip off of another game. i.e. Candy Crush = Bejeweled, Papa Pear = Peggle, Bubble Witch = Bust a Move etc... and why does every game have to be a Saga????

      Personally, I blame QOTSA.
      "KLON Las Angeles. KLON Radio: We play songs that sound more like everyone else than anyone else. 'Alright it's Kip Casper, KLON Radios infinite repeat. How we feeling out there? How's your drive-time commute? I need a saga. What's the saga? It's Songs for the Deaf! You can't even hear it!"

    What is Popcap doing? Why aren't they kicking these guys in the butt for blatant cloning of their IP?

      Mostly because 'match-3' is a genre, now. If PopCap sued King and won, that'd be super bad for them because with that precedent set, Sega could sue PopCap for stealing Columns. Which honestly would be even worse, because columns actually used jewels, not candy.

        Precedent law isn't used very much in american federal courts more so in state courts and precedents isn't legally binding more advisory.

    "Otherwise, it would be much easier for future copycats to argue that use of the word ‘Saga’ when related to games, was fair play.”

    Dear King,


    If they copycat your game, then attack them for that (although the similarities, hem hem, between Candy Crush Saga's gameplay and earlier games are well known). But as long as you try to pretend you should own the word saga, expect people to be derisive. You don't own that, you shouldn't own that, and I hope that you get slapped down and have costs awarded against you for this try-on.


    “Before we launch any game, we do a thorough search of other games in the marketplace and review relevant trademark filings to ensure that we are not infringing anyone else’s IP"

    How did they not find Pac-man?

    this comes across as them trying to protect themselves against people doing the same unscrupulous things to them as they have done to others in the past. But in an unreasonable and heavy handed fashion.

    Is there any actual narrative to Candy Crush Saga? In the absence thereof, one could argue that it's improper use of the word denies them the trademark rights to it.

      I played it for like an hour, there's an extremely brief idea that you're travelling through candy land or some total fluff.

    It's frustrating that the only reason they're getting away with it so far is because they are picking battles in which they know the other party doesn't have enough money to fight the legal battle which would get the trademark thrown out. Why can't they slip up and go after a bigger company that can take them for all they're worth? Still, this is highly amusing.

    I've got a great idea, I'm gonna make this game with lollies in it, you can swap lollies to match 3 of them and score points. Because I'm an ass, i'm gonna limit how many games people can play in an hour... ha.. take that people. Restrictions make for addiction.

    Cant call it "lollie match", I think I might just go ahead and call it "Kandy Krush Kaga", or maybe just "KKK" for short and see where that goes.

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