Spry Fox sues 6waves Lolapps over Triple Town iOS clone

Indie developer Spry Fox has filed suit against developer-publisher 6waves Lolapps in Seattle, WA district court, alleging that the company deliberately cloned Spry Fox’s Triple Town even as discussions continued between the two companies to publish the game on Facebook and iOS. Spry Fox is asking for an injunction against the clone called Yeti Town, damages up to $100,000 and any profits from 6waves Lolapps gained from Yeti Town in an amount no less than $500,000.

The complaint (downloadable here) lays out the timeline of events as follows:

  • July 2011: 6waves – acting in conjunction with Lolapps prior to the merger – signs a non-disclosure agreement with Spry Fox as part of negotiations to publish the game on Facebook and possibly mobile.
  • October 2011: Spry Fox self-publishes on Facebook, files with United States Copyright Office.
  • December 2011: 6waves Lolapps breaks off negotiations with Spry Fox on the same day that Yeti Town is released in Apple’s App Store.

On its blog, Spry Fox explains that as part of the publishing negotiations, 6waves had access to Spry Fox’s private beta months before the game’s release (hence the NDA). The developer believed that negotiations were progressing while Yeti Town was being developed. This makes the cloning doubly egregious in Spry Fox’s eyes, and “we can not, in good conscience, ignore it.”

6waves Lolapps is sending out an emailed statement to press outlets seeking comment. We’ll publish as soon as the statement is made available. Note that given the timeline above, 6waves Lolapps could claim ignorance of cloning as Yeti Town was developed by Escalation Studios and released on iOS before 6waves Lolapps acquired Escalation. We observe that when Escalation’s own site was live before the acquisition, Yeti Town wasn’t at all advertised while all its other iOS games were.

To the larger point of cloning, we know that this is not the first — and probably not the last — time a developer’s game is ripped off by a studio looking to publish said developer’s game. Whether or not an NDA is signed often doesn’t matter as few developers are prepared to go to court over a clone, especially when it could put its resources toward developing a new game instead of paying a lawyer. In general, when fingers are pointed over too-similar games, it is the habit of publishers to settle the cases out of court.

UPDATE: 6waves Lolapps responds with the following statement.
“6waves Lolapps is disappointed that David Edery has chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes his claims are factually inaccurate. We respect others’ IP and did nothing to violate any contracts our team had in place. The copyright infringement claims are unjustified.”

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9 Responses to “Spry Fox sues 6waves Lolapps over Triple Town iOS clone”

  1. Copyright in social games drama as Nimblebit takes to Twitter to vilify Zynga | Daniel Miller . Law . Tech . Games says:

    [...] Of course, just a few hours after writing this, Spry Fox sued 6waves lolapps over the cloning of their popular new game, Triple Town. I’ll read the complaint and write [...]

  2. Bart says:

    I used to think 6Waves/LOLApps were good companies. Even have put serious thought in doing some business with them. But this is another clear example of yet another company putting profit before creativity at the expense of the independent developers – the real innovators.

    The social games world has turned into one of well-funded copy cats producing re-skinned clone after re-skinned clone. Behavior like this ruins the social gaming ecosystem and the numbers prove it. Companies like these refuse to spend their borrowed money to dare to innovate something new. They can’t, they don’t know how. So they either copy promising I.P. from independent developers by either buying them out or by ripping them off.

    Let me be clear to folks; companies like these are NOT game makers. They are only the “Walmarts” in the social game industry using borrowed money to churn out richly marketed versions of 3 year old ideas and occasionally someone else’s great idea.

    Kudos to Spry Fox for standing up to them. I applaud and wish them luck and success in their lawsuit and in their games. LolApps and 6Waves, you have just sold away your credibility with me and when the house of cards starts to tumble (Zynga is already in trouble), we won’t be hearing much of you after.

  3. Bart says:

    Also, thank you inside social games for unbias reporting, thumbs up to you.

  4. Loot Drop: We had a game cloned before a line of code had been written says:

    [...] games space has come up numerous times in the news recently. Triple Town developer Spry Fox is suing 6waves Lolapps over the similarities between its game and 6waves’ Yeti Town, and San [...]

  5. » At Inside Social Apps All Eyes Are on Monetization : Girls In Tech : says:

    [...] and the recent controversy around the astounding similarity of games from Nimblebit/Zynga and Spry Fox/6Waves Lolapps, there was a great deal of interest in the topic.  Brenda Garno Brathwaite, COO of Loot Drop did [...]

  6. Three ways game developers can avoid cloning » HD Network Technology Blog says:

    [...] prototype and then created a game of striking similarity may not survive.  For example, in 2011, Spry Fox sued LolApps for copyright infringement and false designation of origin over Spry Fox’s copyrighted Triple [...]

  7. Exclusive: 6waves cuts more staff from U.S. office says:

    [...] a lawsuit from developer Spryfox over an iOS clone of Triple Town, 6waves went through a massive staff shake-up earlier this year [...]

  8. Court denies 6waves’ petition to dismiss Spry Fox lawsuit says:

    [...] Fox filed the original lawsuit against 6waves in January over the iOS game Yeti Town, a clone of the former’s popular game Triple Town. In the suit, [...]

  9. 2012′s biggest rumors and controversies in social and mobile games says:

    [...] Lolapps. The company received a huge amount of public criticism when it launched Yeti Town and was accused of cloning by Spry Fox after the two developers had signed NDAs to distribute Triple Town on Facebook. The [...]

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