King's Open Letter Defends Its Trademarks, Apologizes For Clone

King's Open Letter Defends Its Trademarks, Apologizes For Clone

Candy Crush Saga

King CEO Riccardo Zacconi acknowledged the company's mistakes in an open letter concerning intellectual property.

In an open letter published on the company's website today, Candy Crush Saga developer King published an open letter addressing the issue of intellectual property, cloned games, and why the company wants to protect its trademarks.

Beginning with the issue of cloned games, King CEO Riccardo Zacconi apologized for having published Pac-Avoid, a game that was developed with the intention of it strongly resembling Scamperghost, a game that King was going to publish until the developer Matthew Cox received a better deal from one of King's competitors. "The details of the situation are complex, but the bottom line is that we never should have published Pac-Avoid," Zacconi said in the open letter. "We have taken the game down from our site, and we apologize for having published it in the first place." Zacconi called Pac-Avoid "an exception to the rule."

King also came under heat after trademarking the words "candy" and "saga" in attempts to protect its intellectual property for popular games like Candy Crush Saga. In line with trademark law, King is now investigating the takedown of similar games using "candy" and "saga" in the title. The Banner Saga became a target. When developer Stoic Studios attempted to trademark its strategy RPG The Banner Saga, King filed an opposition motion. When this was revealed, a King representative said the company has no intention to block The Banner Saga.

"We don't believe that The 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," Zacconi said. "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 the use of the word 'Saga' when related to games was fair play."

Source: King.com

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I understand the reasoning behind the "we don't want to sue you but we have to because if we don't then we can't sue anybody" line, but it still sucks.

This is the Internet you're trying to beat now, King. Your casual demographic probably won't care less about this, and you still might make some money for a while, but your name is going to grow exponentially more infamous in the next few years. You will be forced to deal with every copyright violation, as well as have to deal with every lawsuit heading your way, and they'll be coming very soon.

Enjoy your infamy, enjoy your success. Because you pulled the level that has caused the deaths of every corporate vaporware shit app publisher before you, and you will be no different. No apology or justification is going to help you at this point, and the history of your predecessors is proof of this. Sleep tight.

I would understand if they had a trademark on including both "Candy" and "Saga" in a game's title so people can't launch knockoffs with names like "Candy Munching Saga" or "Saga of the Candy Smashers" or whatever. But it's just ridiculous to trademark those words individually.

The word 'Saga' SHOULD be fair play when related to games. It's way too broad to copyright.

So.... it's just what Jim Sterling said... Ok.

I was of the mind they were simply some kind of patent trolls, but the Jimquisition video pointed out exactly what they are now saying:
'we had to oppose their application [for ... Saga] to preserve our own ability to protect our own games'. As long as they are operating within the insanely broken US trademark system, they pretty much have to be jerks or they'll have no protection against the next Zynga coming along and creating clones of their games.

Still doesn't excuse their clone of that reverse Pac-man game though.

We don't believe that The Banner Saga resembles any of our games...

No shit Sherlock.

OT: This whole debacle is utterly disgusting... I'll get the popcorn.

I already said this on the Jimquisition but hey almost the same news almost almost the same comment.

The Banner Saga had a kickstarter in March 2012.... Candy Crush bullshit came out in April 2012.

So FUCK OFF King you ripped them off IF anything were a rip off name.

To translate all of the PR spin into proper verbiage:

"We don't want other companies pulling on us the same sleazy, bullshit tactics that we pulled on them."

Congratulations King. You have successfully dethroned Zynga as the "Douchiest Video Game Company".

The king is dead. Long live the King.

Vigormortis:

The king is dead. Long live the King.

You tickled my funny bone with that one.

OT: I get that the trademark system is broken as hell, but that does not excuse the pac-clone game. You don't get to throw yourself on the mercy of public opinion for the infringement stuff when you yourself were doing exactly teh kind of infringing you're so worried about.

Well... considering the circumstances they sure could've made worse statements. Of course, the whole apology over the cloned game would've been a lot more meaningful had they also returned the money they made off it somehow. Like donating it to child's play or something. But I do understand, they're a company: that money is long gone in new investments, paychecks, etc.

With the whole copyright thing I still have some issues though.

First of all, I'm sure even they knew the claim against stoic would never stick. But they had to file it anyway, because copyright laws are dumb like that and yadda yadda. If that were truly the case though, wouldn't it have been a whole lot smarter to immediately contact stoic and perhaps even gaming news outlets to let them know what's going on? That they probably have nothing to fear, and there's no hard feelings? You'd put the rumor mill out of the game before it even began, plus score some gamer goodwill, probably. Heck, go full class act and offer stoic legal advice on how to deal with your own claim.

Secondly, would it really be that bad to not comply with the whole "due diligence" thing? Every time this issue comes up, I'm told they have no choice or future real copycats would automatically be in the clear. But is it really that black and white? Couldn't you in that eventuality just argue due diligence does not apply since the banner saga is obviously not even in the same time zone as candy saga, but the copycat game is? "Had we made a claim against stoic, would it ever have stuck? No? Then how is it relevant that we didn't? I rest my case." I realize that this argument mostly hinges on the judge being able to at least tell pac-man from counterstrike, and most people on here would consider even that a leap of faith. But the whole thing with the US supreme court ruling games are in fact an art form gives me reason to believe it's not nearly that bad.

Hey King, You do not admit publicly that your own legal action is fraudulent
have fun being sued to living hell.

Also banner saga guys.
Do it. Sue them. We will laugh.

This is actually a thing?

Damn.. If I invent a time machine, I'm going back in time to trademark words "revelation", "super", "ultimate" "dead" and "dark"

mysecondlife:
This is actually a thing?

Damn.. If I invent a time machine, I'm going back in time to trademark words "revelation", "super", "ultimate" "dead" and "dark"

I look forward to have played Ultimate Dark Revelation: Super Dead Edge Saga

MCerberus:
Hey King, You do not admit publicly that your own legal action is fraudulent
have fun being sued to living hell.

Also banner saga guys.
Do it. Sue them. We will laugh.

It's not fraudulent. Because of the messed up state of patent law, they have to file these stupid things or when Zynga2 come along, they won't be able to defend themselves.

On a slightly related note, didn't the WWE trademark "What" at some point?

Apparently, courts don't care if you're "really sorry" for copying another game.

Also, admitting that you're being jerks just because you have to goes against you if you're counter sued and they bring up that you're doing so fraudulently.

Law, it am hard.

I said it in the comments of the today's Jimquision, but it's interesting to note that Candy Crush is basically a knock off of Bejeweled. King's hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Why not trademark the words Candy and Saga in conjunction with each other? Trademarking the word Candy or the word Saga on their own is just a totally dick move. That way then, games wouldn't be able to call themselves Candy crunch Sage or whatever stupid name people come up with (that's almost as stupid as Pac-Avoid).

I'm glad they finally acknowledged what pricks they've been, but that doesn't excuse them for being pricks.

Many many people have said it already, but I feel like it needs to be highlighted that you shouldn't be able to trademark a single word. It's utterly exploitable and just causes issues for the courts and IP owners later down the line.

image
I hate to tell you, King, but you may owe these guys some money for stealing the word "Saga" in their game title. This was from 1988 and it was actually not a bad game.

kinda doesn't change the fact 'Saga' is so widely used that it shouldn't even be up for consideration, and there for, shouldn't be allowed to do this at all

roseofbattle:
"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.

You dont have to do that. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/trademark-law-does-not-require-companies-tirelessly-censor-internet
Your lawyers are incompetent or you are lieing.

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

Thats because word SAGA IS fair game. its a word which has a specific definition and you should never be able to trademark it.

erbkaiser:
'we had to oppose their application [for ... Saga] to preserve our own ability to protect our own games'. As long as they are operating within the insanely broken US trademark system, they pretty much have to be jerks or they'll have no protection against the next Zynga coming along and creating clones of their games.

They dont have to. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/trademark-law-does-not-require-companies-tirelessly-censor-internet
They choose to anyway.
you should not be able to "protect" words like saga.

Big talk coming from a company that basically built their success on a Bejewled clone.

It still rings true that mobile devs are not in it to make games but to make money. Which might explain why so many of them turn out to be massive cunts as soon as they have success.

It' a bit unfair towards the guys with the Saga rpg series (Saga Frontier, Unlimited Saga and so on) :p. I think Saga defined their series ages before it defined kings.

castlewise:
I understand the reasoning behind the "we don't want to sue you but we have to because if we don't then we can't sue anybody" line, but it still sucks.

It's bullshit, trademark law doesn't work that way. King acted like a bully and is now trying to weasel out of it by blaming everything but themselves.

What about The Banner Saga's right to protect its own trademark? What if someone comes along and makes The Boner Saga and they can't do anything about it?

 

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