Zynga receives lawsuit over FarmVille and other games

Zynga Games has been issued a lawsuit today by Segan LLC. Segan LLC alleges that Zynga violated a 2006 patent the company received. According to TechCrunch, the patent is entitled "System for Viewing Content Over A Network and Method Thenrfor". The allegation can be read online, via this PDF link. The document credits Marc Segan and Gene Lewin as the developers of the technology that was patented. A quote from the patent follows:

The user will select web site addresses of subscriber target sites where the user can access enhancement content for the character icon to provide functionality to the character icon such as for animating the character icon on the user device. Addresses for such web sites may be provided to the user based on a particular character icon selection which may, in and of itself, signify interests and/or demographic information of the user. Access to enhancement content will be provided by accessing authorization codes present at the target sites. In a preferred embodiment, only certain enhancement content will be operable on certain character icons, thus requiring the user to locate enhancement content that is compatible with the user’s character icon.

Wording on the patent is unclear, but the technology focuses on identifying users with a character icon, and the customization or updating of that icon. Little is known about Segan LLC either. No website for the company is found when "Segan LLC" is searched on Google, though according to the document, the group has a physical address at 33-00 Northern Boulevard, Long Island City.

The document describes Marc Segan as the founder and president of Segan LLC, who are a "product invention and development company". It also states that he has designed and developed numerous electronic and other products over the past thirty-three years.

Gene Lewin is described as having been in management positions for various technology companies. The violated patent is identified as U.S. Patent No. 7,054,928. The patent was legally issued to the two plaintiffs. Segan LLC is seeking damages and royalties should Zynga be found to be in violation of these patents.

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