Surprise--Zynga slapped with yet another infringement lawsuit


Another day, another lawsuit on Zynga CEO Mark Pincus' desk. This time, myFarm creator SocialApps has filed suit against the FarmVille creator for copyright infringement, violation of trade secrets and a number of other allegations, Patent Arcade reports. Filed in Calif. District Court on June 17, just days after SocialApps registered myFarm with the Copyright Office, the company claims that since myFarm released in November 2008, Zynga approached the company to acquire intellectual rights and source code for its own use.

According to SocialApps, the two entered a Leter of Agreement regarding the source under SocialApps' impression that it would be compensated and credited for Zynga's use of the myFarm source code. Then, the company claims that it failed to get in contact with Zynga as the developer released FarmVille in June 2009 without compensating or crediting SocialApps. As you know, FarmVille went on to peak at 80 million users. And though it has since fallen to 36.8 million players, myFarm enjoys a paltry 17 thousand players in comparison.

Basically, the claim is that Zynga used the myFarm source code to create FarmVille, the iconic Facebook game, without owning up to its end of its agreement with SocialApps. (And the similarity between the two games is striking.)

SocialApps claims to have suffered damages in excess of $100 thousand, and is seeking Zynga's profits and gains, as they're in excess of $500 thousand. (Considering Zynga is said to be worth $20 billion, SocialApps might be low-balling this one a bit.) According to Patent Arcade, SocialApps also believes Zynga went and used the myFarm source code to create games like FrontierVille, CityVille and FishVille.

Keep in mind, this is far from the first time Zynga has been the target of a copyright infringement suit. Most recently, the company agreed to change the name of its upcoming expansion to FrontierVille from The Oregon Trail, the same name of the classic adventure game-turned-Facebook game, to Pioneer Trail after approached by The Learning Company with a lawsuit. Zynga declined to comment.

How do you think Zynga will respond to these allegations? Do you think the two games are similar enough for SocialApps to have a case? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.