This Ville Aint Big Enough For the Both of us
Zynga have produced the chart topping browser based games FarmVille, FrontierVille and CityVille. With the “Ville” family and a slew of other well-known games, Zynga have managed to reign supreme over Facebook games with very few blips on the radar to challenge them.
According to Gamasutra, In an effort to maintain this state of affairs, Zynga have has threatened to sue Overtime Apps. This is because Zynga claims that the competing Facebook game Blingville infringes on their trademark rights to use the word “ville” in naming social games.
Although it will take a while for the legalese to be unravelled and a decision to be made on whether the dispute will see any court time, one thing that Overtime Apps does have in its favor is that Blingville.com was registered as a domain name way back in 2004.
This was when Facebook was still a fresh-faced youth starting out on the road to internet conquest. At this time, browser-based social gaming was far from the social network’s top proirity.
Oh, and let’s not forget that this is Zynga, whose CEO Mark Pincus was once quoted in saying:
I don’t fucking want innovation, you’re not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.
So to turn around and threaten a company with legal action for trademark infringement, given Zynga’s tendency to ahem “borrow” creative concepts, seems a little bit rich.
Still, proving the validity and the time of registration of Blingville‘s own trademark rights will be crucial in deciding whether or not Zynga manages to run Overtime Apps out of… ville.