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Zynga attempting to enforce 'ville' trademark

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.

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Latest comments (23)

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 5 years ago
Edge Games: Reloaded...
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Andrew Wilson 3D Artist 5 years ago
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).
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I thought they can't put trademark on common worlds such "Ville" etc... Didn't the "Edge" case clearly stated that ?
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Show all comments (23)
Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
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.
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Tony Coles Account Manager, Peppermint P5 years ago
I read this as "Zynga attempting to enforce 'vile' trademark".
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Cruella De Ville would have a field day. Its obviosuly not as Black & White as we imagine it to be.... :)_
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Jas Purewal Partner, Purewal & Partners5 years ago
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.
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Smallville? not to mention a landslide of others. What about original game development?
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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.
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Mbuso Radebe Associate Producer, Smoking Gun Interactive Inc.5 years ago
@Dr. Wong - I believe FrontierVille was developed by Zynga, but I get your point.
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Watch out Jimmy Buffett. Margaritaville next up.
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Abraham Tatester Producer 5 years ago
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"?
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Giuseppe De Francesco Director & CEO, DFT Games5 years ago
That really sounds crazy... I'm happy to be in Europe!
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Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster5 years ago
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.
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Eddie In Project Manager, Ndoors5 years ago
@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)
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Mike Wuetherick Lead Designer, Super Mega Awesome Games5 years ago
Announcing my new game 'EdgeVille Wars!'

Ridiculous.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 5 years ago
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.
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Krasimir Koichev Producer, Riftforge5 years ago
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.
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James Poole Managing Director, Sarcastic Hedgehog Ltd5 years ago
@Mike W. That's going to be confused with my game "The Edge of Doodleville"
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Philipp Karstaedt Producer / Product & Project Manager 5 years ago
Angry Villes?
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Thiago Attianesi Creative Director, Fan Studios5 years ago
I read "Zynga attempting to enforce 'vile' trademark".
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Raimonds Zigurs Artist 5 years ago
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

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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
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.
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