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Playdom and Zynga settle trade secrets lawsuit

Disney offers undisclosed terms regarding alleged theft of design documents

FarmVille maker Zynga has reached a private agreement with Disney-owned social game developer Playdom on a case concerning alleged theft of trade secrets.

Zynga sued Playdom last September, claiming four of its former employees had taken documents including 'The Zynga Playbook' with them when relocating to the rival company.

The Playbook purportedly contains a breakdown of the "secret sauce" behind the success of Zynga titles.

Zynga successfully petitioned for an injunction against Playdom twice this year, which prevented the latter from leveraging the claimed secrets.

It also presented as evidence alleged emails from Playdom execs, including co-founder Daniel Yue observing "God I hate [Zynga boss] Mark Pincus," as well as apparently promising to keep the disputed documents secret.

Another mail showed Yue apparently admitting that " "We haven't put out a new game in almost six months and we haven't really innovated much in this period either.

"I run into Zynga folks at bars every weekend and have to deal with them calling me out for cloning them. It sucks. But it sucks even more missing quarterly earnings projections."

Zynga had also claimed that Playdom hacked into its computers and stole user data.

Terms were not disclosed, but Zynga chief lawyer Reggie Davis stated that, "The settlement reflects the very serious nature of the conduct involved, as reflected by the preliminary injunction, restraining orders, and contempt order issued by the Santa Clara Superior Court.

"We have great respect for Disney and are thankful that following its acquisition of Playdom, Disney resolved the matter to our satisfaction."

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Alec Meer


A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.