Trademarkia: Zynga is one of the biggest trademark bullies around
Zynga has made its billions from its stable of "'Ville" games on Facebook and other social networks. So, it's (arguably) understandable that the leading social game maker doesn't like it at all when other companies attempt to add the "'Ville" suffix to their games or products. Zynga acting on that many, many times has earned it a spot amongst the top trademark bullies around.
At least that's according to start-up trademark search engine Trademarkia, which has pegged Zynga as the fourth biggest trademark bully of 2011 among Kellogg, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Apple (of course) and K-2 Corporation. (That latter sells snowboards and skiing equipment, oddly enough.) It appears that Trademarkia ranks the top trademark bullies simply by how many "trademark oppositions," or trademark infringement lawsuits, a company has filed.
If you're unfamiliar with Zynga's assaults on Blingville, DungeonVille and its attempts to trademark the word "Ville" in Europe, a trademark bully is a trademark owner that attempts to use its trademark to push other companies out of the competition that use the same or similar trademarks. However, what makes a trademark holder a bully, or a company looking to protect its brand?
In Zynga's case, it could be said that the company simply looks to protect the quality and visibility of its brand. (Though, it's not as if the company hasn't found itself in similarly sticky situations.) The sheer volume of Trademarkia's recorded cases either speak to Zynga as a trademark bully, or how many companies look to Zynga's iconic "Ville" branding as an easy path to visibility. Either way, it's in your best interest to just leave the 'Villes to the old red dog.
[Image Credit: VilleVille]
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