Flash Developer Alleges King “Cloned” Their Game

By Graham Smith on January 24th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Update 2: And there’s now a statement from King.com on the subject, also at the end of the post.

Update: There’s now a response from Matthew Cox (Junkyard Sam) at the end of the post.

This story is starting to turn into a saga in its own right. A developer is now alleging that the increasingly infamous Candy Crush Saga-creator King.com copied the design of one of their games. Stolen Goose are the creators of a game called Scamperghost, about avoiding ghosts, collecting coins and using slow-motion to dodge. In a post explaining the situation, they say they were contacted by King.com to license the game, but that they turned down the offer before signing any contracts when a better deal came through. They claim that King.com then copied the game by producing a clone called Pac-Avoid.

As always, it’s not that simple.

If you haven’t been following the King.com saga this past week, let’s recap: King.com started filing trademark disputes against other game developers who use the word “Candy”; there was outcry as they targeted small teams and in response King defended themselves; then it turned out they were challenging The Banner Saga’s trademark filing due to their use of the word “Saga”; and finally The Banner Saga developers responded. Phew.

This latest allegation is unrelated to any of the currently ongoing trademark disputes, though is meant to draw attention to an apparent double-standard. (And, one suspects, to the game artist’s resumé).

As part of the post eplaining the alleged cloning, Matthew Cox (aka Junkyard Sam, and one of Stolen Goose’s two creators) mentions that when Pac-Avoid was released, some “fellow Flash game developers were pretty outraged at the IndieGamer.com forum”. There’s no link, but this thread from February 12th 2010 is started by Junkyard Sam and discusses the situation.

There’s some worthwhile context in the thread, about how often Flash games find themselves copied and the various potential or supposed defenses for that action. The issue is that a game design can’t be patented, or trademarked like their name, meaning “cloning” is rife in the field. The practice is encouraged further by the way the marketplace is structured. Most Flash games make their money by signing deals with portals for exclusive use of a particular game. To compete, rival portals then create or commission their own version of those same game ideas. It’s absurd, not creative, and there’s little legal recourse available to stop it. If the afore-linked thread is anything to go by, a lot of Flash developers are either accepting or resigned to it.

The key piece of information within is that Cox says that Stolen Goose’s Scamperghost was itself a clone. “Scamper Ghost was a clone of the flash game Particles. Directly. Scamper Ghost was 100% inspired by Particles (by RagDollSoft!),” although he also argues that “we really evolved the game quite a bit in our own direction.” Particles can be played online here. The creator of that game turns up in the same thread and doesn’t seem to mind.

It’s also worth noting that, at this point at least, Sam says he would work with King.com again in future: “That being said – I don’t hate King for this. I see it as a cold calculated business move – they wanted the game, couldn’t get it – so they copied it. It’s cutthroat – it’s how they operate. I would still do business with them in the future.”

On the second page of the thread, he gets more defensive of King after receiving “a pretty nice email from Lars”, which is presumably the first email quoted in the King Copied post. He writes that, “1) We had tentatively accepted with King, and the large sum from MaxGames probably caused us to think the word “tentative” meant more tentative than it really should have been. In other words – we were probably wrong to back out and go with MaxGames. So King had been counting on getting this game and then took Pac-Avoid as an alternative.”

The key difference between 2010 and now seems to be that Stolen Goose were initially under the impression that King.com had accepted a pitch for a similar game from another developer. They now say that this isn’t the case, claiming that, “We tracked down the developer that made Pac-Avoid and it turns out they were contacted by King.com to clone the game!” (emphasis theirs).

The post ends by saying:

Scamperghost isn’t the most original game in the world. It’s obviously inspired by Pac-Man but we at least took it in an original direction by making it a mouse avoider with no walls.

King.com, however, showed no respect for other people’s intellectual property when they made a direct, blatant clone of Scamperghost. Now they’ve trademarked “Candy” and are using their massive legal power against other small competing developers. A bit of a double-standard, eh?

Given the earlier admission that ScamperGhost “was a clone of the flash game Particles”, it seems obfuscating to say only that it was “obviously inspired by Pac-Man”. It also seems like there’s more than one double-standard at work here. Maybe there’s quadruple-standards.

What this is, is the point where the conversation about trademark disputes gets completely de-railed. It’s the point where the collective anger against King.com and their actions gets warped in an attempt to make it about something else. That something else is also awful, but it’s also more complicated than Junkyard Sam’s post suggests, and it’s too easy to allow existing frustrations to lead you into taking sides without first waiting for or looking for more information.

I’ve reached out to both King and Matthew Cox with some questions about the situation and will update this post when/if I hear back.

Update: Matthew Cox responded with the following comment, which I think clarifies his aim in writing the original post:

I don’t really care that much that King.com copied our game. I have no interest or goal whatsoever of limiting other people’s ability to create whatever they want. (As you point out, we smoothed things over with King a long time ago.) I only resurfaced this in response to the actions King is taking to limit the innovation of others.

King’s treatment of our intellectual property combined with their partial use of NAMCO’s trademark Pac(man) in their copied game shows extreme hypocrisy.

They’re in the process of trademarking a common word — “Candy” — and have already taken action against other apps like Candy Slots, for example.

By trademarking the word “Candy” they limit all of our freedom whether we’re big or small… You can’t make a Candy game. I can’t make a candy game. Not even great candy empires like Hershey, Ferrara, or Jelly Belly can make candy games.

Thanks to Matthew for getting in touch in answer to some of my questions.

Update 2: There’s now an official statement from King.com on the subject, which directly contradicts some of the original allegations.

“King does not clone other people’s games. King believes that IP – both our own IP and that of others – is important and should be properly protected. Like any prudent company, we take all appropriate steps to protect our IP in a sensible and fair way. At the same time, we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers. Before we launch any game, we do a thorough search of other games in the marketplace, as well as a review of trademark filings, to ensure that we are not infringing anyone else’s IP. However, for the avoidance of doubt, in this case, this game – which was coded by a third party developer 5 years ago – has been taken down.”

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73 Comments »

  1. frymaster says:

    Also the name itself, “Pac-Avoid”, is a bit cheeky. I’m surprised it’s not a genuine actual trademark infringement

    • Baines says:

      Namco probably never noticed it. Pac-Avoid infringes a lot more on Pac-Man than any game with “Candy” or “Saga” in the name infringes on King’s games.

      • Sleepymatt says:

        This is pretty much the only bit of the ‘news’ that is relevant (yes, King are an unscrupulous bunch of so-and-so’s that are happy to copy others work, but what’s news about that?). Perhaps someone should drop Namco a little note asking for their thoughts on this …. developing saga?

        • programmdude says:

          Would it even be possible to trademark candy? Don’t trademarks get taken away when they are “generalized”, such as aspirin and heroin. Candy is certainly a generic term, hence shouldn’t be able to be trademarked.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genericized_trademark

          • stupid_mcgee says:

            They are. They can hem and haw all they fucking want about having a trademark on “Candy,” but the TM would be thrown out within seconds of being challenged.

            “The issue is that a game design can’t be patented, or trademarked like their name…”

            Also, I don’t why anyone would think you could TM a game’s design. That’s not what trademarks would even be for.

            BTW, you most certainly can copyright a game and therein lies the challenge. You allege that the infringing game deliberately copies elements of your game specifically to confuse the two and to mislead customers.

            Copyright your fucking game, you dipshits. There you go. Legal recourse.

          • Tewedh says:

            @stupid_mcgee You don’t seem to understand how copyright works; you don’t need to copyright anything, you automatically have it as the creator (or company has it if created as part of employment) and can pass it on to others under contract. Having the legal means to enforce it is another matter though. I have no idea if copyright law covers games; certainly UK law doesn’t specifically mention them, but they could potentially fall partly in other categories. Edit: it covers ‘Computer programs’ under literacy; so just the code itself. Assets like art, music etc that aren’t part of the code will be covered individually under copyright in the appropriate categories.
            http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law

  2. db1331 says:

    You get mad when someone copies your game that you copied off of someone else? Deal with it.

  3. Snargelfargen says:

    It would be nice to see an article go into depth about how intellectual property and trademark law came to be and how it works in its present incarnation.
    I can’t tell who the laws are intended to serve in these disputes. King.com are undoubtedly dicks, but I would like to know what kind of dicks exactly. Informed opinion and all that jazz.

    • Amun says:

      Why do that when you can just regurgitate what you saw on Reddit yesterday? =/

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        No, they’re not related. There are a ton of issues as to why software patents are bad, but that has nothing to do with Trademarks and Trademarks are nowhere near as bothersome as software patents.

        Why do I get the feeling this is a repeat of the “Kickstarter investment” threads where everyone was falling over themselves to prove how little they knew about the topic at hand?

    • frightlever says:

      King aren’t dicks. They’re a business. Businesses tend to be, basically, amoral. I’m not saying that’s right, but that’s capitalism. Most successful businesses exist at the edges of what they can get away with, and often stray over that edge because if they don’t they will be at a competitive disadvantage. Legislation is a balancing act of what’s in the best interests of the public and what commerce wants, with politicians and law-makers facilitating a compromise that will see them funded and re-elected. Again, this is the system, I’m not saying it’s the best system.

      Attributing emotional motivation to a business decision is akin to thinking that a shark was being malicious when it bit your leg off. There is a cognitive dissonance at work in big business which we have all tacitly accepted by not taking to the streets. All in all, the system works pretty well. you only have to compare the standard of living in industrialised capitalist nations compared to, I dunno, Korea or Malawi.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        I don’t entirely disagree, but the individuals within an organization are still subject to the moral precepts of the society that they are a part of. Their actions reflect on the group they are a part of and vice versa. A business is not absolved of moral responsibility just because it is composed of multiple parts.

        Also, “dicks” is a funny word. dicks dicks dicks

      • Llewyn says:

        You might want to clarify Korea to North Korea, what with South Korea being something of an industrialised capitalist nation.

      • waltC says:

        Unfortunately, anyone can be an “amoral dick,” etc. Or a “right bastard” or an SOB, etc. I cannot see any advantage in dealing with a socialist/communist right bastard over dealing with a capitalist right bastard. It’s possible, I suppose, that the capitalist might be more constrained about giving those traits free reign than the communist simply because generally speaking communist dictators have fewer peers who might judge such actions negatively because they can usually shoot any dissenting opinion…;)

      • Convolvulus says:

        Capitalism doesn’t require amoral policies, and it doesn’t necessarily reward them, especially where it concerns a company selling software to a relatively young demographic on social networks. Businesses exist to make money, and it’s not good business for a casual game developer to elicit imagery of an aging lawyer dipping his suppurating penis in your mulled cider because he insists that anyone using cinnamon has stolen his grandmother’s recipe.

        In light of what the people at King have been perpetrating, it’s outrageous that they sold a game called Pac-Avoid featuring look-alike Pac-Man characters. That it’s a direct rip-off of another game may have debatable relevance to their trademark shenanigans, but it unfortunately helps paint a clearer picture of the company’s infected dickishness. At some point each person who works there will have to look in a mirror and either stop being a raging prick or maybe consider a wardrobe featuring ironic t-shirts and ostentatious fedoras.

      • Colej_uk says:

        You say they’re not dicks but are amoral. I think most people would say they are dicks for being amoral. Being a company does not excuse this. The fact that companies do this kind of thing fairly regularly does not cancel out anybody’s right to be upset at them.

        Thankfully there are also plenty of companies out there who do not participate in this kind of thing, showing us that it’s not a required trait of capitalism. There’s really no excuse here.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        This argument makes no sense. Businesses are vehicles. A business doesn’t do anything unless people make it happen. People make decisions for the business. Businesses do not act autonomously on their own.

  4. SRTie4k says:

    It seems to me that the logical conclusions is that all parties involved are a bunch of slimy jerks looking to make a quick buck off other people’s ideas.

  5. Retroblique says:

    So, do we still hate King or not? Article needs to provide more guidance on this issue before I continue ranting on Twitter.

  6. Robin_G says:

    Although the inspiration for the myriad flash games that exist is kind of a nebulous thing to parse, Kings strategy has always been to shamelessly lift a base game, Tetris, Columns, Bejeweled, Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-move and slap on a generic theme with “Saga” on the end of the title. If they are going to take such aggressive legal proceedings there is no reason why the law shouldn’t work both ways, I have no sympathy if they get sued for plagiarism. They rocked the boat over the already murky waters of flash games. Before now there may have been a more live and let live attitude amongst them.

    • Baines says:

      Maybe that is why they want to lock down the word “Saga” so badly, as otherwise people wouldn’t be able to tell their cloned games apart from anyone else’s cloned games.

  7. KevinLew says:

    I think the takeaway here is this: “It’s absolutely true that the video game market, especially for mobile games, is infested with video game clones. However, King claims they are trying to shut down game cloning, appearing to take some moral higher ground, when they themselves have cloned another person’s game.”

  8. Siresly says:

    This area of game development sounds like such horrible bullshit.

    And yeah, Namco should have a legit case with Pac-Avoid. The other other double standard on display here. King says they’re protecting their IP from exploitative clones, whilst Pac-Avoid is both a clone, and is arguably exploiting Namco’s IP in the same ways they accuse Stoic of.

  9. Eery Petrol says:

    How is this newsworthy? The article states that the subject is unrelated to any of the currently ongoing trademark disputes. It addresses an old completely free game that very blatantly imitates another game like many other games on Kongregate do, nothing surprising at all. Has this turned into a mud slinging competition?

    • Shooop says:

      You never heard the term “hypocrisy” before have you?

      Because that’s what King seems to be dealing in spades here.

      • dogoncrook says:

        They aren’t hypocrites, they are liars. They are protecting their business interest. It’s a lot of things, but it isn’t really hypocritical. They don’t actually believe what they are telling you they calculated that it will make a percentage of the outrage go away.

    • Tewedh says:

      Actually I don’t think it is completely unrelated, look at the bigger picture; both this story and the trademark disputes deal with intellectual property law which is what is really in question in both stories. Also what it does show that has direct bearing on the trademark story, is that King.com’s claim that it respects others intellectual property is not entirely true. Also if you read the source article you’ll see there was money involved, that it may have been free to consumers is not relevant. It matters little who did what & when, or who did it first. The fact is it isn’t the way people should behave; even if they are part of a large business. Profit is not a good excuse for bad behaviour in my opinion.
      Intellectual property regulations need reforming/clarification and not just in terms of games. I do freelance art/illustration and intellectual property law is a serious issue in that area as well; very hard to enforce & often unfair. Even more so now it’s complicated by easier international distribution (the internet!).

    • max pain says:

      Hey if a guys ramblings about how he dislikes some TV show can be newsworthy, then I think this topic deserves some attention too.

  10. Kolbex says:

    I love that you can’t trademark game mechanics, but the words “candy” and “saga”? TOTALLY COOL.

    • Emeraude says:

      I love that part of trademark’s legal mandate was to protect consumers from illegitimate copies and is now being used to prevent them from willingly buying imitation products, to protect the companies.

      Such a lovely inversion.

    • Deckboy says:

      ^^^^^ THIS

    • Urthman says:

      Those two things make perfect sense. Anyone can make and sell hamburgers. It’s only if you call your restaurant McDonaldson’s that someone might be confused and think your hamburgers are actually McDonalds hamburgers.

      Anyone can make a Bejeweled clone, trademark law is supposed to prevent me from tricking people into thinking that my Bejeweled clone is the King Bejeweled clone that everyone’s so wild about. The only thing about King’s actions that is absurd is their claim that someone might be confused into thinking a Norse Viking RPG is that Bejeweled clone that everyone’s so wild about.

    • Grayvern says:

      They don’t need to they can patent game mechanics, it’s just not that popular.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        At least in the USA, you can’t copyright nor patent game mechanics. (get TMs the fuck out of here as it has nothing to do with anything other the name of the game) You can copyright the written material and the written rules, but you cannot copyright the idea of the game nor the game mechanics.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      I love that you think you know what Trademarks are.

  11. thegooseking says:

    It’s not exactly the same, but I remember when Nescafe (or maybe it was Kenco) wanted to use Muse’s Feeling Good in an advert. They said no, but because they only owned the mechanical copyright (the recording), and not the literary copyright (the song itself), the ad then commissioned another band to record a version of it that sounded the same as Muse’s version. Of course, a similar thing happened recently between Jonathan Coulton and Glee. In both cases they were perfectly legal moves, so the only thing worth discussing there is whether they should have been.

    Music is a little different to games, precisely because it has these two forms of copyright – literary and mechanical. Games are only protected by one form of copyright, but you have to wonder whether that could be developed in some way, so that the actual code and assets are protected by one form, while something more abstract – not necessarily the ‘idea’ because I don’t think that should be protected, but somewhere between the idea and the implementation – should be protected by another form.

    • Moraven says:

      Is Feeling Good not a cover to begin with?

      So they commissioned a band to make a cover of a cover? Which if it sounds so similar that is against Muse’s copyright.

      • Sleepymatt says:

        Yes, Nina Simone sang it way back when all this was fields, and I think even her version was a cover… hence why it was a legal way to do things. Though I agree, Muse’s version was so distinctive that you’d imagine they would have a case if it was copied exactly note for note.

        • drinniol says:

          Covers are different – there exists a mechanical license (ie it cannot be denied) upon payment of a royalty to the original copyright owner.

  12. Bull0 says:

    I decree that we start referring to this series of events as the Candy Crush Saga Saga. Or, if we’re more interested in the word saga than the game’s name, The Candy Crush Saga ‘Saga’ Saga.

  13. Iscannon says:

    Graham’s comments on this situation seem a little more sensible and objective than John’s might have been. Regardless, both were interesting

  14. one2fwee says:

    If you read the article in the other link, it says that not only did King contact the other developer, they also bare-faced lied to them and said that contracts had been signed, in order to manipulate the other developer into thinking that cloning the game was okay.

    ” from: Porter porter@epicshadow.com
    date: Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 9:25 PM
    subject: Pac Avoid / Scamper Ghost

    First off, sorry that we (Andrew and I of EpicShadow) cloned your game for Lars of King.com. I know there’s a ton of rumor as to what happened, so here’s the exact details, you believing them is your decision. Lars approached us one day explaining that you (Stolen Goose) had signed a contract, had been working with him on finishing the deal, and then got a better deal and backed out. As tempting as more cash would be, if contract was signed, douche move. I don’t know if that actually happened, so feel free to clear it up. He asked us to clone the game very quickly, and even wanted to beat the release of the original game.”

    I’m not sure why this part isn’t mentioned in this RPS article as it strikes me as by far the worst part of it all!

  15. Urthman says:

    I disagree that this represents a derail of the trademark discussion. Sadly, the only thing that could possibly rein in King’s trademark overreaching is if there is a continual stream like this of bad publicity and all of it gets lumped together as part of the Candy Saga Trademark Scandal (TM).

    • Tewedh says:

      I also think this doesn’t really derail the trademark discussion. I believe it brings to light issues with intellectual property laws on a bigger scale; of which a trademark is a part.

      Nothing is ever truly original; it’s not how the human mind works. We get inspired by the things around us, we borrow ideas (sometimes just tiny bits) and use and combine them in new ways (well… sometimes new ways). The huge question I think that needs to be asked is at what point does being inspired by something, become plagiarism? Sometimes it’s an easy answer, sometimes not.

      But just where does the line need to be drawn? That’s what the law needs to try to tackle; internationally as well which just complicates things even further. I’m certainly of the opinion that trademarking individual ‘common’ words and cold blooded business backstabbing shouldn’t be acceptable even if it is currently seen as the way things work.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        The law is actually very clear about this. It’s copyright when you plagarise content. You cannot copyright nor patent an idea.

        If I make a game about farting on ghosts, and you decide to make a game about farting on leprechauns, then there’s nothing I can do. However, if you copy the look of my main character, Disastrous Gastrous Gus, then I have grounds for copyright infringement.

        Also, obvious names and common words cannot be Trademarked. That’s great that King.com think they have some badass trademark on “Saga,” but as soon as someone challenges that Trademark, it will disappear. You could also sue King.com for abusing the Trademark system (filing frivolous TMs) to foster an environment of unfair competition.

        There already is international law that deals with this. It’s been on the books, internationally, for several decades, in fact.

        • Tewedh says:

          Did you actually read what I posted? I understand what you’re saying and you are right to a point; I think your view may be a little black & white, you’re oversimplifying the relationship between an idea and final product. There are such things as grey areas. Although laws are fairly rigid they often leave room for interpretation on how they are applied; that’s what judges are for. Maybe you misunderstood what I was trying to say. I never mentioned ‘copyrighting ideas’, although I’ll come back to them later; I was trying to refer to IP in a generalised manner not focusing on any one aspect. A mistake perhaps. I was already very much aware of the fact you can’t copyright ideas. I was fairly vague (trying not to create a huge wall of text, also nobody really seems to want an in depth discussion here) and I may not have explained myself as clearly as I should have. I am aware that there is law that exists; The main point I was trying to make is that it’s not always that simple to prove plagiarism and similarities are bound to occur because nothing is ever completely original. What I stated (or meant to :) ) is that it may need to be looked at and clarified where the line is drawn. I say this more particularly as it applies to games rather than anything else; as that is the subject of discussion and many other industries have firmly set standards; games however are fairly new ground. And yes I’m aware that a lot of the same laws apply what I mean is the way they are applied; a small but important distinction. I state this due to what I’ve read recently about games being less regulated in IP law than most industries, although admittedly I know little about how IP applies in the gaming industry and am relying on what I’ve read in various articles and on various forums; so I don’t take it as gospel, feel free to correct me on any fallacious information.
          The other point I was trying to make is that what consists ‘plagiarism’ is not always clear cut; where does inspired by ‘start’ to become more and cross that line (ideas and execution in final products can be blurry areas as to how much of the idea is part of the style and unique execution of the IP). As I said sometimes it’s obvious, occasionally not so much. It is not necessarily always an easy objective opinion, and subjective views will likely creep in also. Often it has to be looked at on a case by case basis or rely on precedent set by similar cases. All this of course can take months of legal negotiations; leading to huge costs which is prohibitive for smaller companies and individuals. Of course it’s the very fact that the line isn’t always clear cut which causes issues and it may well be there is no way to further clarify without harming creativity, innovation and growth. But that is something for further and more in depth discussion.
          I’m personally very aware of IP rights (as it applies to my field) as I do work as a freelance artist/illustrator it’s very hard to ‘enforce’ in that area although the rules are fairly clear (due to cost, international issues (there are still a few) and proof of ownership).

          Also you stated: “Also, obvious names and common words cannot be Trademarked.” King.com ‘already’ have the trademark for the word “Candy” maybe you should talk to King their lawyers and whoever authorised it about what they aren’t allowed to trademark. The issue with the trademark dispute isn’t that they will get away with keeping the trademark it’s that in in the meantime they are using it to bully small companies & individuals who cannot afford the legal costs to fight them.

  16. spacefrog says:

    Regarding this “Candy” thing:

    In 2007 i was contracted to develop a “Bejeweled” clone, that i did:
    http://www.frogsinspace.at/?p=440

    One year later the contracter approached me again because of course he got contacted by Popcap to remove the game. So i was contracted again to re-theme the game. I came up with the “Candy” idea and contracter was happy with that. So i started to redesign the game. The result was “Candy Swap” ( Year 2008)

    http://www.frogsinspace.at/?p=438

    So … does that make me the original creator then ?
    Could i sue King ?
    Could i make a load of money ?

    Just asking ;-)

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Do it! I think it’s as good time as any for a pile-on!

    • drinniol says:

      Spread the word as much as you can – the internet is primed for any material that brings King into disrepute.

      Who knows, maybe the EFF will get involved?

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      No. You cannot copyright an idea. You could argue that they stole assets or copied your aesthetic in an attempt to mislead others, thus violating copyright, but that’s about it. And looking at your game versus Candy Crush Saga, there’s no way in hell any judge would buy your argument of infringement.

  17. DestroyYourEgo says:

    All I can think of is the South Park Scientology episode:
    “We’re gonna sue you!”
    “Yeah, you are SO sued!”

    … whens Namco stepping in to sue ALL of them?

  18. Driscoll says:

    Another statement from King over on Polygon:

    “King does not clone other peoples’ games,” a King spokesperson said in a statement to Polygon. “King believes that IP — both our own IP and that of others — is important and should be properly protected. Like any prudent company, we take all appropriate steps to protect our IP in a sensible and fair way. At the same time, we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers.

    “Before we launch any game, we do a thorough search of other games in the marketplace, as well as a review of trademark filings, to ensure that we are not infringing anyone else’s IP. However, for the avoidance of doubt, in this case, this game — which was coded by a third party developer 5 years ago — has been taken down.”

    http://www.polygon.com/2014/1/24/5342398/king-denies-cloning-games-takes-down-pac-avoid

  19. monstermeal says:

    Just like Zynga before them, they clone a game, make a bunch of cash and turn into a horrible troll company. Fortunately they will likely die out when the next big game from another company hits.

    This whole ‘saga copyright’ thing. Ugh, it drives me nuts how stupid it is.

  20. racccoon says:

    Boycott King and make them a pauper. Maybe there big ass’s might start thinking better about life instead of being a bully..

  21. stupid_mcgee says:

    I see that most people are as aware and comfortable with IP law as they are with business terminology. IE: The people here commenting know nothing about IP just like they know nothing about proper business terminology.

    RPS, I know you want to cover these things and all, but your articles read like shit when you don’t know what you’re talking about. It was bad enough when John Walker kept throwing about the term “investment” while attempting to shoehorn it into some other obscure interpretation, while still remaining within the business environment, and a bit more disconcerting when nearly everyone kept referring to all ROI as dividends, but wallowing around in intellectual property when you don’t seem to have a grasp on the basics not only makes you guys look silly, but makes RPS seem like a bunch of puffed-up know-nothings arguing about which type of cheese the moon is really made out of. (we all know it’s gouda)

    • BlueTemplar says:

      Hmm, maybe you could direct us to a good source where to learn about IP law then?

      • Tewedh says:

        Seems ‘stupid_mcgee’ is fairly knowledgeable about IP law, they could be a little less rude/abrupt in attempts to explain it. But they don’t know everything and their view seems to be a little two toned (black & white), when it comes to the notion that ideas and execution of of ideas are not always easily separated.

        Trademark is very simple: ‘Trade’ ‘Mark’. It is what it says; the identifiable mark (name) for your trading business. Which can also include names of products/services strongly associated with your business.

        Admittedly I know little about patents and not that much about the specifics of trademarks, but I need to know copyright fairly well as it affects my work.

        Copyright is an ‘automatic’ right (no need to apply :) ) when anyone creates something with some originality (as obviously if you copied something else you’re infringing on their copyright); when something is created as part of employment the copyright is owned by that employer rather than the individual who created it. Copyright can be passed to third parties via contract agreements.
        Some info on copyright here (although it’s specifically UK it is based on ‘international’ standards. International is in inverted commas as not all countries strictly adhere to them… except when it suits them of course):

        http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law

        Some of the restrictions are interesting e.g. you can’t adapt something without permission; just how much do you need to change something before it’s no longer an adaptation and can be seen as using the idea in a new way; I don’t believe that is ‘always’ an easy answer.
        I was unsure of where computer games would fit in if at all, but on closer reading of the items covered it states computer ‘programs’ were added to the rules covering literary works in 1992. This would suggest that only the ‘code’ is covered (note it says programs not games so a story of some kind isn’t likely the reason for this categorisation), so that might be the cause of the clone issues. But you’d probably have to ask someone in the industry for a clear idea. Of course game assets that aren’t part of the code itself; music, art, story (after all it will be written down somewhere) etc. will be covered individually by copyright.

        There is also a much more difficult to enforce IP right which can be used even if you as creator lose your copyright (produced for someone else or transferred via contract) which is moral right. If the IP is used in a way that you deem immoral you can legally object to it’s use. But as I said it is hard to enforce and seldom used.

  22. willardmcass says:

    my buddy’s step-aunt makes $82/hour ℴn the internet. She has been fired from work for 6 months but last month her pay check was $13120 just working ℴn the internet for a few hours. lℴℴk at this web-site…..
    http://www.dub30.com

  23. CookPassBabtridge says:

    As a UK dweller I don’t use the word Candy at all – to me it’s american for sweets or chocolate bars. So you can sell a game to me called Sweetshop Squash Story, not infringe Kings patent, and become fantastically rich and happy.

  24. Chillz says:

    Am I the only one who played Particles for 30 minutes after reading this ? :S Good article.

  25. GerryShima says:

    it is strange that mobile game can be also copied but this game can not get popularity……
    http://www.sasasoftwaretechnologies.com/flash-flex-application-development.html

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