The Inquirer-Home

Zynga countersues Electronic Arts

Updated Says lawsuit is over-reaching
Mon Sep 17 2012, 10:39

GAMES DEVELOPER Zynga is hoping to turn the tables on Electronic Arts (EA) by countersuing it for copying.

The firm has hit back at allegations of wholesale copying, and accused EA of overstating its case and of behaving unfairly when it comes to employing, or not employing, people.

"Today we responded to EA's claims, which we believe have no merit," said Zynga's general counsel Reggie Davis, in a statement provided to Allthingsd.

"We also filed a counterclaim which addresses actions by EA we believe to be anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements."

In August Electronic Arts called out the firm over its apparent copying of the Sims Social with the release of something called The Ville.

EA sued the firm to protect its intellectual property and the work that its staff put into development.

"The core legal issue is our belief that Zynga infringed copyrights to our game, The Sims Social. In legal terms, our claim is that Zynga copied the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a clear violation of the U.S. copyright laws," said the post from Lucy Bradshaw, GM of EA's Maxis Label.

"The legal reasons are solid. But for creative teams who feel that their hard work and imaginations have been ripped off, there's obviously an emotional element too. The copying was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable. Scores of media and bloggers commented on the blatant mimicry. This is a case of principle."

In its countersuit Zynga contends that games like the Sims and the Ville contain elements that could not be protected because they belong to a longstanding tradition of life simulating games.

We have asked both firms to comment.

EA is unimpressed by the approach from its rival, and in a message told the INQUIRER that the firm should focus on problems that are closer to home.

"This is a predictable subterfuge aimed at diverting attention from Zynga's persistent plagiarism of other artists and studios," it said in a statement.

"Zynga would be better served trying to hold onto the shrinking number of employees they've got, rather than suing to acquire more." µ



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