FarmVille could owe a lot (of cash) to myFarm for its success in lawsuit
When Zynga was hit with a copyright infringement suit in July 2011 by myFarm creator SocialApps over FarmVille, it wasn't terribly surprising. What is surprising, however, is that Zynga's motion to dismiss the case has been largely denied by Oakland, Calif. federal district court judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers on Feb. 6, The American Lawyer reports. Will FarmVille have to pay out some serious Farm Cash?
Maybe, but not so fast, because it looks as if neither company is willing to settle just yet, so this could drag on for another seven months. SocialApps came at Zynga in July with allegations of copyright infringement, a violation of trade secrets, breach of contract and other claims. Zynga sought to dismiss the myFarm maker's claims of breach of implied contract, confidence, implied covenant and theft of trade secrets regarding the myFarm source code, the game's art and other features.
Fortunately for Zynga, Rogers agreed to dismiss SocialApps' trade secret theft claims. This largely rests on the fact that myFarm had been on Facebook since November 2008, six months before Zynga and SocialApps signed a letter agreement in May 2009. "Publicly available information, by definition, cannot be protected as a trade secret," Rogers wrote in the decision.
What's unfortunate for Zynga, however, is that Rogers refused to dismiss SocialApps claims of breach of implied contract, confidence, and implied covenant as they relate to myFarm's source code. "The allegations here are sufficient to allege conduct beyond a mere breach of the terms of the agreement which would support a claim for tort damages," Rogers wrote.
And SocialApps will not back down. The myFarm creator's counsel, Graham LippSmith, told The American Lawyer that SocialApps will file an amended complaint regarding what Rogers dismissed. LippSmith also said that the damages (i.e. money awarded) will be "astronomical."
How do you think this case will pan out? Do you see the similarities between myFarm and FarmVille? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.