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Zynga attempting to enforce 'ville' trademark

Mon 24 Jan 2011 9:28am GMT / 4:28am EST / 1:28am PST
Legal

Rival game Blingville fights back against cease and desist orders

Social network gaming outfit Zynga has requested cease and desist orders against developer and game Blingville, claiming its use of the letter combination 'ville' entails trademark infringement.

Zynga began action against Blingville last November, with Blingville claiming this will soon evolve into a full trademark infringement suit.

Last week, Blingville filed for a declaratory judgement stating that its game's title constituted a "fair use" of the trademark.

Zynga's claim "adversely affects Blingville and will continue to do so until this Court makes a determination of Blingville's absolute right to use the trademark name 'Blingville' in connection with its social networking computer game."

The declaratory judgement request also demands that "Zynga be ordered to pay Blingville's attorneys' fees, costs and other expenses incurred as a result of this controversy."

Zynga has previously been on the receiving end of trademark infringement disputes, in cases concerning both the name and the content of its Facebook hit Mafia Wars.

23 Comments

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 183 0.2
Edge Games: Reloaded...

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Andrew Wilson 3D Artist

28 1 0.0
Only Edge Games: Reloaded once you see the '7 years old' Farmville box included in their lawsuit against Thrillville ;)
Still, it strikes me that imitation is back up to 80's levels in the industry (I've seen Maxsplosion and Bullistic on iTunes over the last couple of days alone).

Posted:3 years ago

#2
I thought they can't put trademark on common worlds such "Ville" etc... Didn't the "Edge" case clearly stated that ?

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
Indeed; although Blingville is obviously trying to capitalise on Zynga's 'Ville success, surely the very existence of Thrillville renders the whole case moot?! Otherwise, why don't LucasArts/Frontier get in on the act too and try to claim that Zynga have infringed on their trademarks?

But I agree Andrew; plagiarism does seem particularly rife in the industry at the moment. I guess most of that is because of fast turnaround and relatively un-policed downloadable gaming.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Tony Coles Account Manager, Peppermint P

9 2 0.2
I read this as "Zynga attempting to enforce 'vile' trademark".

Posted:3 years ago

#5
Cruella De Ville would have a field day. Its obviosuly not as Black & White as we imagine it to be.... :)_

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Jas Purewal Solicitor, Osborne Clarke

35 0 0.0
The issue is not so much over "ville", it is whether "Blingville" is likely to confuse consumers into thinking it is associated with Zynga's games with similar names, e.g. "Farmville" or "Cityville". If so, then there is a risk that the owners of Blingville are profiting at the expense of Zynga. So that's one reason for this kind of lawsuit. Another reason is that the owner of a trademark MUST take steps to protect their IP legally, otherwise they risk losing it.

Posted:3 years ago

#7
Smallville? not to mention a landslide of others. What about original game development?

Posted:3 years ago

#8
There are many Ville related games that are not produced by Zynga.

WeirdVille, Frontier Ville, Dot Ville, etc (Object +Ville)

Just because Farmville was successful does not mean, Zynga have carte blanche monopoly on the Ville name, even on the argument of protecting ones IP. Whereas if the new game+Ville was a very close farming game, then there may be a tenous argument of slight confusion between the two companies.

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Mbuso Radebe Associate Producer, Smoking Gun Interactive Inc.

55 23 0.4
@Dr. Wong - I believe FrontierVille was developed by Zynga, but I get your point.

Posted:3 years ago

#10
Watch out Jimmy Buffett. Margaritaville next up.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Abraham Tatester Producer

71 53 0.7
Wait, aren't their games ALL rip offs of other games? And they have a problem with other devs using "ville"?

Can you say "HypocrisyVille"?

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Giuseppe De Francesco Indie Game developer

1 0 0.0
That really sounds crazy... I'm happy to be in Europe!

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

463 172 0.4
You cant trademark a suffix. And you have to be insatiably greedy to try.

I think in the midst of the copyright crisis we have all forgotten what Intellectual Property is. Creativity. Stealing a word from a movie and then trademarking the suffix in order to sue the competition for using it is not imo, creative.

They are not 'passing off' any more than star trek can pass off for being star wars.

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Eddie In Project Manager, Ndoors

15 0 0.0
@Giuseppe: Well if this were Europe we'd first debate which language "~ville" actually is before having a 5 year bout on which jurisdiction the whole thing should take place in and then the magistrate finally deciding it must be done in a neutral country that has nothing to do with the case. We might get it all done in 20 years except the EU court system would change every time there's a new head. Bless the Europeans for wrapping the whole process in so much tape that no one in their right mind would ever try it. (Disclaimer: I was kidding the entire time...LOL)

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Mike Wuetherick Lead Designer, Super Mega Awesome Games

29 11 0.4
Announcing my new game 'EdgeVille Wars!'

Ridiculous.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Andrew: whether you can or cannot "trademark a suffix" is irrelevant; as Jas Purewal pointed out (listen to the lawyer, folks!), whether the term in question is likely to confuse consumers as to the origin of the game is what's relevant here.

This, unlike a lot of trademark cases we read about, seems to me to be not at all unreasonable, and deserving of the opinion of a court.

Posted:3 years ago

#17

Krasimir Koichev Producer, Riftforge

35 0 0.0
That's like Blizzard going after Minecraft because it's TOO close to Warcraft and Starcraft.

Zynga has a ton of money to burn to destroy all competition, so if they can't buy you, they'll file some kind of lawsuit to shoot your costs up.

Posted:3 years ago

#18

James Poole Managing Director, Sarcastic Hedgehog Ltd

36 0 0.0
@Mike W. That's going to be confused with my game "The Edge of Doodleville"

Posted:3 years ago

#19

Philipp Karstaedt Producer / Product & Project Manager

7 0 0.0
Angry Villes?

Posted:3 years ago

#20

Thiago Attianesi Creative Director, Fan Studios

59 2 0.0
I read "Zynga attempting to enforce 'vile' trademark".

Posted:3 years ago

#21

Raimonds Zigurs Artist

4 0 0.0
interesting, no one mentioned zombie ville USA, it's not social game, but it is a game with a vile "ville" in it

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Raimonds Zigurs on 26th January 2011 1:05am

Posted:3 years ago

#22

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
For a company that does nothing more than steal ideas and make clones of games I find this stuff of owning "Ville" rediculouse. They lack originality and because they cant come up with better original names now they seek rights over "Ville". Its not even a full word its a "Suffix". Zynga is out of line and insatiably greedy.

Posted:3 years ago

#23

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