Zynga gets sued for alleged copyright infringement

Zynga may be riding high due to its highly successful Facebook-based social games like Farmville, Cityville and Empires and Allies. However, another company has decided to take Zynga to court over alleged copyright infringement. Patent Arcade reports that California-based company SocialApps filed a lawsuit on June 17, charging Zynga with "copyright infringement, violation of trade secrets, breach of written contract, breach of implied-in-fact contract, and breach of confidence."

In its lawsuit, SocialApps, which has released social networking games on its own, stated that in 2008 it released myFarm which allowed gamers to create and grow their own virtual farms. The lawsuit states that in 2009, Zynga "approached SocialApps to acquire intellectual rights and source code for myFarm." After the two companies allegedly entered into an agreement for Zynga to check out the myFarm source code, SocialApps claims that it "never heard from Zynga again and couldn’t get in touch with them when they tried." Zynga then launched Farmville in June 2009. It currently has well over 30 million players and at its peak had 80 million players.

SocialApps claims that after Zynga "having had access to, and knowledge of, their source code then used it to create Farmville, without ever compensating them or receiving their permission." SocialApps is seeking damages of $100,000 along with any profits that Zynga has generated from Farmville "in excess of $500,000." SocialApps also states that it is its belief that Zynga used SocialApps' source code to develop other games. So far Zynga has yet to respond to the lawsuit.

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