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.”