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 Candy Crush  developer King files suit over allegedly copied titles
Candy Crush developer King files suit over allegedly copied titles
August 27, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

Successful mobile and social developer King has filed suit against fellow mobile developer 6Waves, alleging that the company has blatantly copied two of its titles.

Imitation and outright theft of mobile IPs is not new to the field. Accusations from simple written complaints to formal lawsuits have been lodged against a number of companies, most prominently Zynga. However, historically, King has rarely involved itself in litigation.

Nevertheless, with the runaway success of Candy Crush Saga and solid performance of other games in its Saga family of titles, the developer has become a high-profile target for imitation, and there's at least a certain amount of damning evidence in its favor here.

The lawsuit, filed earlier today with the U.S. district court in San Francisco, concerns King's Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga. The developer provided two side-by-side comparisons between its games and two titles by 6Waves, Treasure Epic and Farm Epic, both of which bear a strong similarity in terms of color scheme, puzzle design and UI.

"6Waves went well beyond simply using King's ideas for inspiration," King co-founder and CEO Riccardo Zacconi said in a statement, as reported in VentureBeat. "We welcome fair competition but developers that simply mimic our products... pose a threat not just to us, but to the entire games industry."

Gamasutra has reached out to 6Waves for comment on the suit's allegations.

UPDATE: A 6Waves representative has responded to Gamasutra with the following statement:

"6waves cannot provide detailed comments at this stage but we deny all allegations of the copyright infringement complaint by Limited. Puzzle solving games and themes like farming and jewels are not unique and have been created by many other companies. Such popular gameplay and themes cannot be copyrighted."

Below, on the left, are screens from King's Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga. On the right are screens from 6Waves's Treasure Epic and Farm Epic. Both side-by-side comparisons come provided by King.

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Daniel Lau
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I don't see how anyone can claim Farm Epic is in any way similar to Farm Heroes Saga. For one, FHS uses an 8x8 grid while FE uses a 7x8 grid with two opposing corners missing. The same goes for Treasure Epic which has light brown cubes in addition to the purple, green, and blue cubes.

Jason Lee
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Based off past rulings on past litigation we've seen, there's probably enough of a legal difference where although Farm Epic is clearly a rip-off of Farm Heroes Saga, Farm Epic probably can't count legally as a true clone. However, 6Waves's past history of losing the Yeti Town case is already a black mark on the company, and whether this particular case goes through or not the publicity of the case just exacerbates their reputation of cloners rather than innovators in the industry.

Arnaud Clermonté
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When someone clones one of your games and slightly alters the grid or adds 1 color, and earns money from doing that, reducing your own market share and revenue, then maybe you'll see it.

Daniel Lau
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Okay when I made my comments, I really thought everyone would recognize I was using sarcasm as a vehicle to reinforce the point of the article, that 6Wave's designs were blatant rip offs; however, the comments that followed below seem to agree more with my original post than I would have expected.

I will say that I am very big believer in patents (and I can tell you what it feels like to have your engineering know how duplicated without recognition), but they clearly don't apply in this case because as Eric points out, the basic game mechanics have been well established. That being the case, the only thing that anyone can do to set themselves apart is in design elements. So how different does a design have to be in order to be adequately unique. I see two possible ways out of this. One, congress establishes new legislation or we rely on current law and a jury of reasonable individuals can decide if this is blatant copyright infringement.

Mike Karklin
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This article doesn't mention anything about the Spry Fox/6waves suit so I figured I'd point it out.

Eric Finlay
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Who made the original match 3?

nicholas ralabate
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Match-3 games actually date back to the Roman emperor Hadrian:

Arthur Hulsman
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seriously... this is not a rip off... i've seen worse, much worse... The whole design is different. Even the layout is not similar. If 6Waves has coded everything themselves, created their own art work and added a bit of new ideas, then its a whole different game.

Matthew Buxton
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Unless everyone is trolling, the layouts of each level are different but the constituents are the same, thankfully we can strike a balance between blatant clones and having large companies patenting things like a bounceback on an interface. Good job Apple isn't into fps games as I'm sure they would patent "reloading using a digital gun" etc etc, just like how Zynga tried to patent second currencies in games.

Arnold Bayer
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Candy Crush Saga copied most of their mechanics from Bejeweled so I think EA can sue King now.

Ramin Shokrizade
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I think the actual graphics and overt game design on these products is only maybe 25% of the game. Most of the work that goes into a game like Candy Crush saga is the numbers behind the scenes that drive the game, and these are a lot harder to copy. Showing two pictures that look similar may cause a knee jerk reaction that two products are similar but if someone managed to copy the numbers in the game that would be a lot more damaging to the first creator.

As an analogy (and for legal purposes I do mean analogy, since I've already been contacted by and their lawyers before), if you had a casino game like Wheel of Fortune, and someone copied the visual mechanics without using the actual Wheel of Fortune name, that would look damaging. However, the numbers that drive the machine that make sure the house always wins but at the same time keep the consumer engaged are the real meat of the product.

Ambrose Dixon
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Guess Arnold is right! Though the similarities are much more obvious in this case!

Ambrose Dixon
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and here is a relative infographic: