The Learning Company, publisher of the classic game The Oregon Trail (now also a Facebook game), has slapped Zynga with a lawsuit over its use of the term 'Oregon Trail' in an upcoming FrontierVille expansion. According to the suit, Zynga is clearly trying to horn in on TLC's action with the use of this particular phrase.
"There can be no doubt that Zynga's adoption of an identical and confusingly similar mark is willful and intended to free-ride on the established goodwill of THE OREGON TRAIL Mark. Not only is The Learning Company's game famous, The Learning Company approached Zynga in 2010 to inquire whether it would be interesting in assisting The Learning Company in developing a version of the game for play on Facebook. Zynga requested more information about The Learning Company's THE OREGON TRAIL brand and The Learning Company sent Zynga detailed information on the brand, history, sales, and development plans. After preliminary discussions, the parties decided not to work together."
The lawsuit also mentions that Zynga has a history of 'disregarding others intellectual property rights," and, whether you agree with that or not, this is certainly not the first time we've heard about Zynga getting into hot water with the competition. Psycho Monkey, the creator of mobile game Mob Wars, filed a suit against Zynga over Mafia Wars due to the 'strong simillarities' between the two games. Digital Chocolate filed a suit against Zynga over the use of the name Mafia Wars.
Zynga has proven to be fairly litigious in its brief history as well, filing a lawsuit against Playdom for stealing trade secrets, suing BlingVille over the use of 'Ville' in a game name. In fact, the FarmVille creator filed at least 22 lawsuits in 2009 alone.
[Via Universal Hub, BizJournals]