Litigation With Friends: Zynga Sues 'Bang With Friends'
Poor, poor Zynga. They've gone from making insanely-popular social games, such as FarmVille and Words With Friends (a Scrabble clone), to a massively-overhyped IPO, to the laughingstock of Silicon Valley. Today, Slate called them the "Linsay Lohan of Silicon Valley startups." We couldn't top that comparison if we tried.
Now, in the absence of any successes in the gaming front, and shortly after abandoning their idea to expand into online gambling, they seem to be distracting themselves with litigation. Today's target? Bang With Friends.
Bang With Friends, as you may have surmised, is an app that facilitates sexual intercourse with one's Facebook friends. You download the app, pick the friends that you'd most want to "bang," and if they also download the app and pick you, the magic happens.
Zynga's wrath was inspired by the "With Friends" moniker. Their own line of social games includes a number of "With Friends" variants, such as Words With Friends, Scramble With Friends, Hang With Friends, etc. The arguably generic moniker is one of the "brands" and is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
In addition to fighting semi-anonymous bros who play cupid, they also have apparently stomped down on rivals who attach -Ville to the end of a game, as it causes confusion with their other major brand, reports Slate.
The irony of these lawsuits is that Zynga made their money off of cloning others' names from Mafia Wars aping Mob Wars, to FrontierVille Oregon Trail imitating, well, the Oregon Trail.
Nonetheless, they do have a point. By creating an endless series of mediocre social games with "With Friends" attached to it, they created an immediate association amongst consumers between the phrase and Zynga's suite of clones. Why anyone would wish to ape a failing company's slate of mediocrity is anyone's guess, but we must admit -- "Bang With Friends" does get the point across and is quite memorable.
It also, pretty clearly, was meant to ape the "With Friends" popularity wave created by Zynga. Unlike Zynga's games, their Lanham Act and state law claims actually have merit. The only question is, will Zynga be around long enough to finish this round of Litigation With Friends?
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- Zynga: A Lesson in Managing Disgruntled Employees (Not) (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)
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