Trademarkville! Zynga stakes claim on Facebook “villes”

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.”

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