King CEO: 'We should never have published Pac-Avoid'

After a week of receiving scorn for attempting to trademark "candy" and for allegedly cloning another developer's game, King CEO Riccardo Zacconi defended his company's actions while acknowledging its missteps in an open letter posted to the company's website today.

King, the London-based studio behind Candy Crush Saga and a litany of other Saga titles, acquired the trademark for "candy" in the European Union and has a pending application for a similar trademark in the U.S. In addition, the company filed an opposition to indie studio Stoic's attempt to trademark the title of its Kickstarter-funded game, The Banner Saga. And last week, an indie developer accused King of copying his Flash game, Scamperghost, with the game Pac-Avoid. King has since taken down Pac-Avoid.

In his letter today, Zacconi referred to the Scamperghost and Pac-Avoid affair as an "unfortunate situation," acknowledged that Pac-Avoid "strongly resembles" Scamperghost and apologized for ever releasing Pac-Avoid.

"The details of the situation are complex, but the bottom line is that we should never have published Pac-Avoid. We have taken the game down from our site, and we apologize for having published it in the first place," said Zacconi. He then called Pac-Avoid "an exception to the rule" that "King does not clone games."

Zacconi also defended King's application for a trademark on "candy," noting that "there is nothing very unusual about trademarking a common word for specific uses" while mentioning magazines such as Time, Fortune and Money and companies like Apple.

"We are not trying to control the world's use of the word 'candy'; having a trademark doesn't allow us to do that anyway," said Zacconi. "We're just trying to prevent others from creating games that unfairly capitalize on our success."

In addition, Zacconi reiterated a previous statement from the company regarding Stoic's The Banner Saga: that King doesn't believe Stoic is trying to build on the "Saga" name, but that it has to oppose Stoic's trademark application so as not to set an unfavorable legal precedent for the future.

For more on King's trademark application, see our report on what it really means.

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