King removes Pac-Avoid from its website, states it does not “clone other people’s games”

Friday, 24 January 2014 20:48 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Candy Crush developer King has denied it cloned the flash game Scamperghost with the release of Pac-Avoid, but has nonetheless taken the game off its website.

In a statement the firm said it does not clone other people’s game, and that IP should be firmly protected.

“King does not clone other peoples’ games,” the firm said. “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.”

The cloning accusation which we reported last night, came from Scamperghost creator Matthew Cox, who stated that cloning is rampant in Flash games, and that he harbors no ill-will towards King for it.

However, he did point out some legitimate similarities and the fact it partially copies Namco’s Pac-Man IP.

“I don’t really care that much that copied our game,” he told RPS. “I have no interest or goal whatsoever of limiting other people’s ability to create whatever they want. 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.”

Meanwhile, the developer who create Pac-Avoid for King, has confirmed the studio he worked for was “asked to replicate” Scamperghost. The developer cities the fact they were “duped” into it by King’s Lars Jörnow who told the studio the original developers backed out of a contract and the game needed finished. There’s more on this over at Eurogamer.

King has been in the news this week almost daily due to its Candy and Saga trademark registrations. The later trademark has also had a negative effect on The Banner Saga, which Kin’s lawyers issued a warning to.

US trademark law states that any company using a trademarked word or phrase needs to contacted by the holder and the contact logged or else it runs the risk of losing the trademark altogether.