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Zynga settles lawsuit with  PyramidVille  developer
Zynga settles lawsuit with PyramidVille developer
October 18, 2012 | By Eric Caoili




Zynga has settled its trademark infringement lawsuit against another developer that attempted to add a "Ville" suffix to its game titles, this time French studio Kobojo, maker of PyramidVille.

The social game giant has made it a point to sue a number of companies (e.g. Dungeonville developer Night Owl Games) in an effort to protect the "Ville" branding that Zynga uses across many of its popular titles like CityVille and FarmVille, which make up some of the biggest games on Facebook.

Zynga filed its lawsuit against Kobojo in May, 15 months after PyramidVille originally released on Facebook (it also released a title called PyramidVille Adventures for mobile). It originally sought damages equaling three times the profits Kobojo has received from the series.

But as a representative for Kobojo tells Gamasutra, "Although the terms of the parties' settlement are confidential, the parties can confirm that neither party made any payment as part of the settlement."

Kobojo, however, has recently changed the name of PyramidVille to PyramidValley, and PyramidVille Adventures to PyramidValley Adventures. The Facebook game's popularity has declined quite a bit over the months, dropping from its peak of nearly 3 million monthly active users to now 430,000.


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Comments


Simas Oliveira
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Just a heads up:
"...and PyramidVille Adventures to PyramidVille Adventures"

Eric Caoili
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Thanks! Should be fixed now.

Ron Dippold
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I guess they do have to protect that Ville suffix. For instance, when they cloned FarmTown to make FarmVille,what did they change? The 'Ville'. That's some serious IP right there.

(more seriously, yes, I realize that Ville branding is indeed a big deal for them)

Mark Ludlow
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I'm still waiting for Zynga's e-Ville.

Llies Meridja
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Ironic that since the word Ville is a french word.

don synstelien
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You will probably not see an "e-Ville" from Zynga, and I *know* you won't see the "eVille" that we created.

A while back, Zynga sued our small 7 person development company even though our Trademark filing was created prior to nearly all Zynga "Ville" related trademarks and was in no way based on trying to take advantage of any popularity that Zynga may have had. - fyi, "eVille" was the name we originally planned for a mobile "Evil" Genius location aware game and was created created prior to Zynga even existing on Mobile.

After Zynga filed against our mark, our lawyer indicated that we had a very good chance of winning since appending "ville" is generally considered common use. But he also said the cost to win would be nearly $100,000 and the battle would have to be fought through trademark court. 100k is pocket change for Zynga, but several months of living for our team.

Trademark lawsuits apparently require things that regular lawsuits don't and are expensive as a result. I know that our cost in filing the trademark and the fairly short back and forth we did have with Zynga ended up costing us around $12,000 - A huge expense for us.

What happened? We eventually had to stop negotiating with Zynga or stop paying people, it was just too expensive to continue to pay our lawyer to continue to communicate with Zynga. We had to do this even though we were in negotiations to have Zynga pay us money to change the name. The sum they were offering was tiny (less than half our expenses) and we considered the demands they made for it to be onerous. Bottom line, we're out a few grand but I'm still free to write this reply. ;-)

The mark Zynga had a problem with?: http://www.trademarkia.com/eville-85148390.html

The game was eventually renamed "Plan X" - It's available here: http://www.extrafeet.com/planx/index.php

Thanks!

-Don


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