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Farmville Legal Fight: Who Owns "Ville?"

sjohnson
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Posted January 25, 2011 - By Stephen Johnson

Cityville

A legal fight may be building up in the video game world, but I'm not talking about EA and Activision sparring over Infinity Ward. Casual game maker Zynga is taking legal issue with other game companies using the "Ville" suffix with their facebook games.

Zynga has created six popular Facebook games -- CityVille, FarmVille, FishVille, FrontierVille, PetVille, and YoVille -- that have a few things in common. First, they seem carefully crafted to suck both your time and your money away incrementally, and two, they all end in "Ville." So Zynga seems to feel that other companies' "Ville" games are infringing on their trademark, or, as the kids might say, "cold bitin' they steez." (I apologize.)

Their first target: Blingville. Zynga has threatened to sue the company behind it, Overtime Apps. Here's how Overtime Apps responded:

"Zynga does not own and has not registered or applied for any trademark registrations at the USPTO for any trademark rights in the word 'Blingville' or any word marks similar thereto...Blingville's use of the trademark 'Blingville' in its social networking game constitutes a fair use of the trademark."

This might not be as high profile as the Infinity Ward case going on, but the money behind the Villes must be vast, so we'll keep an eye on how this plays out.

Source: Gamasutra

Farmville Legal Fight: Who Owns "Ville?"
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