Zynga trains legal sights on PyramidVille

Social game publisher believes that the "Ville" trademark has been violated

Zynga has filed a lawsuit in California District Court against Kobojo over alleged trademark infringement. The leading social game publisher is singling out PyramidVille.

Zynga says that their "Ville" games, such as FishVille, PetVille, CityVille and FarmVille, should preempt other companies from using the suffix on their own social games. Zynga wants preliminary and permanent injunctions against the use of the PyramidVille name and damages no less than three times the profits the game has produced.

"There can be no question that defendant was fully aware of Zynga's success and Zynga's Ville family of games prior to selecting the name for its similarly themed game," reads the complaint by Zynga. "For example, on information and belief, more than one of Defendant's principles had installed and played various games within Zynga's Ville Family of Games prior to the release of PyramidVille."

Kobojo was founded in 2008 and the studio launched PyramidVille on Facebook in 2011, followed by PyramidVille Adventures for mobile. Zynga said it gave Kobojo a chance to change the name of their game, but the French company refused.

Notably, Zynga does not own the trademark for "Ville" that it is suing Kobojo for. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suspended Zynga's application for the trademark recently.

Zynga has in the past also been involved in lawsuits with Night Owl Games for its Dungeonville game, as well as Blingville. Both actually preemptively sued Zynga to ensure that a court would declare that its games do not in fact infringe on Zynga's.

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Latest comments (7)

Nuttachai Tipprasert Programmer 5 years ago
Does becoming successful game company automatically gives them the right to sue every other companies that use a common word in their game title? What's next, Rovio sue every games that use 'Angry' or 'Birds'?
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
Where is Tim Langdell when you need him?
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Antony Cain Lecturer in Computer Games Design, Sunderland College5 years ago
He's here.

If you dare to believe it
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Show all comments (7)
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 5 years ago
Hospital Chaplain and Spiritual Director?

Oh dear! :')
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He was my professor a few semesters back. : P

Also, I'll bring up the "Scrolls" vs "The Elder Scrolls: (Insert title here)" fiasco.
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Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts5 years ago
I'm not sure about this one. Isn't the whole point of a trademark to make sure that no one else can ride your coattails? Wouldn't you associate "Pyramidville" with the same name as "Farmville" or "Cityville"? This isn't like associating "Mirror's Edge" with "Edge" or "The Elder Scrolls" with "Scrolls". This would be more like someone creating "The Lesser Scrolls" and then claiming that Bethesda had no claim on the term "Scrolls". To me, this isn't about the word (or the fragment), it's about the way it's being used.
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Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist / UI/UX Designer / Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games5 years ago
The article states that Zynga does not even own the trademark for "Ville". So how can they sue for trademark infringement?

What if I trademark the word "man"? I then put out a series of games with titles like Wrenchman, Tacoman, Waterman, Dustman and so on. Could I then sue the developers of the next Pacman, Spiderman, Bomberman and Batman games?
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