August 18, 2011

Zynga Sued For Patent Infringement

The largest developer of Facebook games, Zynga, Inc. Is being sued by Agincourt Gaming LLC for infringing on two of its patents.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware and Agincourt seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring the conduct. The complaint covers processes for credit-based online gaming and a prize-redemption system based on the outcome of game play.

Bill Carmody, a senior partner at Susman Godfrey, the law firm representing Agincourt, said in a statement, "Agincourt's patents cover the most lucrative aspects of online social gamin "” including those comprising the bulk of Zynga's revenues "” as they contain the crucial "Ëœlink' that allows for global, interactive prize redemption over the internet."

Games that Agincourt claims infringe on their intellectual property include Farmville, Mafia Wars, FishVille, CafeWorld, CityVille, Vampire Wars, PetVille, YoVille, FrontierVille, Treasure Isle, Empires & Allies and Poker, according to the complaint.

Also in the complaint, Agincourt states that Zynga has seen rapid growth, with over 270 million monthly active users of their Facebook games as of June.

According to the complaint, "But Zynga's remarkable growth has not been driven by its own ingenuity, rather it has been widely reported that Zynga's business model is to copy creative ideas and game designs from other game developers and then use its market power to bulldoze the games' originators. Consistent with this reported copycat business strategy, Zynga has also violated Agincourt Gaming's intellectual property rights.

This is the second lawsuit filed against Zynga in less than a month. Another software company, Segan LLC, based in Long Island City, New York, sued July 20 in Delaware federal court.

On the other hand Zynga has also filed suit against the Brazilian social-game developer Vostu for copying it's most popular games.

The case against Zynga is Agincourt Gaming LLC v Zynga Inc, U.S. District Court, Delaware, No. 11-0072O.


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