The litigation is rare for King, which has 225 million people playing games such as Candy Crush Saga. But the company has become a natural target for copycats now that it has become the top social game publisher on Facebook and a leader in mobile games with its Saga games.
In its copyright infringement suit filed moments ago in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, King alleges that 6waves copied the look and feel of its Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga games. King says that 6waves used its intellectual property in the 6waves games Farm Epic and Treasure Epic.
The mere fact that 6waves did a farm game and a pet game is not a copyright violation. But King disclosed screens showing what it said was an uncanny similarity.
King said Farm Epic was an “unmistakable copy” of Farm Heroes Saga. Among the elements copied, King said, were the look and feel, game progression, game interface, map, text, graphics, and numerous others.
Riccardo Zacconi, the CEO and cofounder of King, said in a statement, “King has filed a lawsuit against 6Waves for cloning two of our most popular games — Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga — via its games Treasure Epic and Farm Epic. We have not taken this action lightly. But in the face of such blatant copyright infringement, we have little choice but to act on behalf of our players, our employees and our shareholders.
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“6Waves went well beyond simply using King’s ideas for inspiration; they copied the original and creative expression that our employees worked very hard to develop. We invest heavily in the creative and technical processes that go into creating such unique games. We welcome fair competition but developers that simply mimic our products severely inhibit our ability to put vibrant and fun games in front of our players. Such practices pose a threat not just to us, but to the entire games industry.”
We’re seeking comment from 6waves. [Update: In a statement, 6waves said: “6waves cannot provide detailed comments at this stage but we deny all allegations of the copyright infringement complaint by King. 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.”]
6waves has gotten into trouble before, as Spry Fox sued over copying of its Triple Town game with a knockoff called Yeti Town. That case was settled.