Trademarkville! Zynga stakes claim on Facebook “villes”


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The upcoming Facebook game Blingville is still in beta testing and already the folks at Zynga are pulling out the legal guns. They sent the creators a cease-and-desist letter, claiming that the new game’s title is infringing Zynga’s trademark in the “ville” franchise of Zynga’s Farmville, Cityville, Fishville, etc.

Blingville is already fighting back though, having filed a lawsuit requesting a declaratory judgment that their “ville” is perfectly legal. And though they’re claiming that Zynga’s accusation is harming their game, I suspect the publicity is doing exactly the opposite. The Facebook page already has almost 15,000 fans even without a game open to the public.

Of course, when it comes to copying, here’s a question: What’s more similar, Farmville and Blingville – or Farmville and Farm Town? This is an interesting move from Farmville’s creators, who have been repeatedly accused of doing a little copying themselves. Though trademark unlike copyright is more concerned with market confusion (us poor Facebook users might mistakenly believe that Zynga created Blingville!), it does seem a bit odd for Zynga to get a monopoly on “ville.”







6 Responses to Trademarkville! Zynga stakes claim on Facebook “villes”

  1. It sure is a good thing I never play any facebook games anyway.

    …Well okay. I will make an exception for Robot Unicorn Attack.

      • I was hoping people would notice that. Heh…

        I actually don't have a problem with flash-based Facebook games. I played Farmville for awhile and, while I didn't really like it, I don't begrudge the game itself for its existence.

        Zynga though….they're kind of not a very ethically-inclined company, and I personally never got into any of the flash-based games that existed on Facebook, even before my discovery of Zynga's unscrupulous practicies.