Zynga sues competitor for using the word “Ville”

Zynga has let slip the legal dogs of war to sue French game publisher Kobojo, claiming they infringed on a Zynga Trademark.

PyramidVille was released to Facebook by Kobojo in early 2011. “Facebook users are likely to believe, erroneously, that PYRAMIDVILLE is a member of Zynga’s ‘VILLE Family of Games,” Zynga said in its complaint.

Zynga does not currently hold a trademark for the word “Ville,” (although they are battling the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office about that), but the company said in its complaint that it has “consistently promoted the ‘VILLE Family of Games together as a family, identified by the distinctive ‘VILLE suffix.”

“Zynga’s “Ville” family includes many well-known games, including FarmVille, CityVille and CastleVille, and the “Ville” suffix is strongly associated by gamers with Zynga,” Zynga said in a statement Monday. “Given Kojobo’s refusal to change their game name, legal action was necessary to defend our famous marks and prevent player confusion.”

Zynga has asked for damages of three times the profit that Kobojo earns from PyramidVille. Kobojo could not be immediately reached for comment.

Kobojo, founded in 2008, received roughly $7.5 million in funding from European venture capital firms last year. The game publisher was also part of a global startup accelerator program backed by Microsoft Corp, although Microsoft does not own a stake in the company.

Founder, CEO, & Chief Product Officer at Zynga, Mark Pincus

Source: BusinessTech

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