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King fires back against trademark backlash and cloning allegations

It's all about protecting IP, says social studio
King fires back against trademark backlash and cloning allegations

Following a week-long media backlash, King CEO Riccardo Zacconi has posted an open letter defending his company's attempts to protect its IP.

Zacconi claims King believes "in a thriving game development community", adding that "good game developers - both small and large - have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create."

As a result, Zacconi continues, King takes what it believes to be "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," he adds.

Right of reply

Said statement was made in response to an allegation by a developer that King's Pac-Avoid copies a Flash-based game called ScamperGhost.

The developer claims hehad previously pitched the game to King as part of a potential publishing deal.

Comparison between ScamperGhost and Pac-Avoid

Although Zacconi has not admitted fault, he notes in the letter that "details of the situation are complex, but the bottom line is that we should never have published Pac-Avoid."

He concludes: "We have taken the game down from our site, and we apologise for having published it in the first place."

Candy crushes Saga?

The second half of Zacconi's letter focuses on the backlash that hit King following its trademarking of the word "Candy" and its decision to oppose The Banner Saga's trademark application.

"We are not trying to control the world's use of the word 'Candy'," he offers in the letter.

"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."

But on the topic of The Banner Saga, the King man is far more nuanced as to why the firm opposed Stoic Games' tradermark application.

The Banner Saga, Stoic Games

"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," he concludes.

"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."

You can read CEO and co-founder Ricacardo Zacconi's letter in full here.