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Zynga suing French publisher over  PyramidVille

Zynga suing French publisher over PyramidVille

May 8, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

FarmVille maker Zynga has filed suit against another company over alleged trademark infringement, this time going after French publisher Kobojo for its social game PyramidVille.

Zynga argues that it's "Ville" family of games -- which includes popular Facebook titles like CastleVille, CityVille, and FarmVille -- should preclude others from releasing social games with the same suffix.

While the company is suing Kobojo for trademark infringement, it doesn't yet own the trademark for the Ville name. It applied for the trademark, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suspended that request last week for undisclosed reasons.

Founded in 2008, Kobojo launched PyramidVille on Facebook in early 2011. It has also released a PyramidVille Adventures for mobile. Zynga said it contacted the publisher about changing the name, but Kobojo refused that request.

"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," Zynga alleges in its complaint [PDF] filed in San Francisco's federal court last Friday.

The company is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions preventing Kobojo from continuing to use the PyramidVille title, as well as damages equaling three times the amount of all profits the Parisian publisher received from the game.

Zynga has also been involved in other lawsuits concerning the Ville suffix -- social game studios Night Owl Games (Dungeonville) and Blingville both pre-emptively sued the firm, seeking declaratory judgements that are not infringing on Zynga's trademarks. Night Owl's suit was eventually dismissed, suggesting a settlement between the two developers.

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