Zynga's next legal battle is ... a patent infringement suit from Segan LLC


You can almost hear a drum roll in the background with each bit of news regarding Zynga's numerous legal battles. This time, TechCrunch reports that Segan LLC has filed suit against the FarmVille creator over just that game (and more). Segan LLC, a self-proclaimed "product invention and development company" according to Gamasutra, seems to have no online presence at all, and isn't even in the social games business.

This leads TechCrunch to believe that Segan LLC could be one those organizations that holds patents and uses them to shake money out of companies that get close to or cross the line on said patents. Our guess is that the website is referring to the popular analogy that likens companies such as this to that of grumpy creatures that live under bridges (or creepy dolls with crazy hair).

According to Segan LLC's long and confusing complaint, Mark Segan and Gene Lewin invented and patented a technology in 2006 titled, "System for Viewing Content over a Network and Method Thenrfor."

More specifically, the patent is said to cover a "system and method for viewing content over the Internet wherein a user accesses a service provider server to view a character icon provided by the service provider to a user interface device." So, Segan means every online video game ever?

The technology described in the patent seems to be an online system that allows users to associate a character with themselves while inside that system (a game platform like FarmVille, perhaps?), and manages updates to that character. The lawsuit, filed in Delaware District Court on July 29, specifically targets other Zynga games like CityVille, Cafe World and Empires & Allies among several others. Of course, the company seeks damages and royalty payments for the technology (i.e. lots of green). We've contacted Zynga for comment.

Are you alarmed at all with how often Zynga gets hit with lawsuits like these? What effect do you think they have on the games industry? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.