King Sues 6Waves for Alleged Game Copyright Infringement. Here’s the Complaint.
In a filing with the Northern District Court of California, King asserts that 6Waves is “blatantly cloning two of its most popular games.” Update 9:15pm PT: 6Waves responded to a request for comment with the following statement from Sharon Lau, the company’s director of Corporate and Legal Affairs:
6waves cannot provide detailed comments at this stage but we deny all allegations of the copyright infringement complaint by King.com 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.
The 6Waves games in question, Treasure Epic and Farm Epic (pictured above right), are available on Facebook, as are the games they are accused of copying, King’s Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga (pictured below left). Pet Rescue Saga is also available on iOS and Android.
All four are puzzle-solving matching games in nature, but King’s claim extends beyond game mechanics: In the filing, the company asserts that the “theme, look and feel, game progression, game interface, map [and] graphics” of both of its games have been infringed upon, and that additionally the text of Pet Rescue Saga has been copied, too.
Starting on Page 18 of King’s complaint (which I’ve embedded below), the company walks through Pet Rescue Saga and Treasure Epic’s tutorial levels, which appear to follow the same beats, with cartoon characters appearing in similarly colored dialogue boxes using near-identical text to explain how to play the games. For example, where Pet Rescue says, “That’s great! Now try to remove as many blocks from the screen as you can!” Treasure Epic says, “Good job! Now try to remove as many blocks from the screen as you can!”
The complaint brings to mind EA’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Zynga over similarities between EA’s The Sims Social and Zynga’s The Ville. That lawsuit was quietly settled out of court in February under confidential terms.
King itself has been in this position before. “We also brought, and won, a case last year for copyright infringement against Playmonk regarding its game Sultan Bubble,” King CEO Riccardo Zacconi told AllThingsD. Playmonk appears to have shut down Sultan Bubble in March as a result of the lawsuit, and I was unable to find a currently active Web presence for the company itself.
Here’s King’s filing from earlier today: