Zynga sues over PyramidVille’s name 15 months after launch

Despite being available on Facebook for over a year without incident, Zynga has filed suit against French developer Kobojo, alleging the name of Kobojo’s game PyramidVille infringes on Zynga’s intellectual property rights.

Zynga has a history of pursuing legal action against developers who add “Ville” to their games’ titles, but what makes this case surprising is the delay. PyramidVille launched in January 2011, and Zynga filed suit on May 7, 2012. Zynga tells us it felt legal action was necessary after Kojobo refused to change PyramidVille’s name.

Zynga may also feel the need to sue now because of how rapidly Kobojo has managed to expand the PyramidVille brand. The game was a modest hit when it first launched on Facebook, but Kobojo has since gotten the game onto smartphones and into Arabic-speaking regions. Published via Peak Games,  مدينة الأهرامات (“City of the Pyramids”) is the No. 2 Arabic game on Facebook, currently boasting 2.4 million monthly active users and 470,000 daily active users. The localized version is very close to passing the peak numbers posted by the original English language version of PyramidVille, which saw 2.9 million MAU and 610,000 DAU in June of last year. Zynga doesn’t have an Arabic language presence on the Facebook canvas.

While expanding PyramidVille, Kobojo has also expanded its business, securing $7.5 million round of funding last year that the developer used to open new studios in Berlin and Madrid. Kobojo also told us at that time that it would push out a slew of new titles for Facebook and mobile during 2012, with some light investment in developing HTML5 games.

Zynga’s main obstacle is that it doesn’t hold the trademark for the word “Ville.” The company is currently trying to secure the trademark, but the process is still working through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Zynga filed for a trademark of the phrase “With Friends” in 2011, with similar results.

Historically, trademark lawsuits over words or phrases in a name have been difficult to win. Case are typically settled out of court or languish for years after being filed. For example, Zenimax recently settled its suit against Minecraft developer Mojang, which claimed the upcoming title Scrolls infringed on the trademark of The Elder Scrolls games. Active Network sued Electronic Arts over the latter’s Wii game Active 2.0, but no results were ever announced afterwards. Tim Langdell of Edge Games was notorious for suing anyone who used the word “Edge” in a title, but this strategy eventually backfired and several of his trademarks were canceled in 2010 after he sued Electronic Arts over Mirror’s Edge.

We’ve reached out to Kobojo for a comment, but haven’t received a reply at the time of writing.

Social Media 201

Mediabistro Course

Social Media 201

Starting October 13, Social Media 201 will provide you with hands-on instruction for gaining followers and engagement. Social media experts will teach you how to make social media marketing work for your bottom line and achieving your business goals. Register now!

 

Leave a Reply

One Response to “Zynga sues over PyramidVille’s name 15 months after launch”

  1. PyramidVille with a new name: PyramidValley says:

    [...] name change is what’s really of note here, though, since Zynga filed a lawsuit against Kobojo over the PyramidVille’s title back in May. This wasn’t exactly [...]

Get the latest news in your inbox
interested in advertising with inside social games?

Social Media Jobs
of the Day

Web Developer

mediabistro.com
New York, NY

Web Producer (Homepage, BBC feature sections) BBC.

BBC Worldwide Americas
New York, NY

Social Media Assistant - Telecommuniting

Elements Behavioral Health
Long Beach, CA

SEO and Google Specialist

Elements Bahavioral Health
Long Beach, CA

Digital Media Buyer/Planner

High 5 Games
New York, NY

Featured Company

Join leading companies like this one and recruit from the nation's top media job seekers on the Mediabistro Job Board. Every job post comes with our satisfaction guarantee. Learn More
 

Our Sponsors

Mediabistro A division of Prometheus Global Media home | site map | advertising/sponsorships | careers | contact us | help courses | browse jobs | freelancers | content | member benefits | reprints & permissions terms of use | privacy policy Copyright © 2014 Mediabistro Inc. call (212) 389-2000 or email us