Zynga Stole Everything It's Suing Us For, Says Vostu

Mark Pincus Happy

Photo: Esthr

Zynga filed a lawsuit against Brazilian competitor Vostu in June. It alleged that Vostu stole ideas for its games, characters and icons from Zynga.Vostu’s defence has fired back, denying the allegations. It says that Zynga doesn’t own the intellectual property it thinks Vostu stole. It also says that Zynga ripped off numerous other competitors first.

As evidence, Vostu cites a 2010 article in SF Weekly, “FarmVillain,” which states: “Zynga has a simple business formula: Steal someone else’s game. Change its name. Make millions. Repeat.”

In the article, a former Zynga employee says it was the most “evil place he’s run into” and that he recalls founder Mark Pincus saying, “I don’t want f*cking innovation. You’re not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.”

In addition, Vostu says that both companies were in touch for nine months preceding the lawsuit. The communications were hardly angry; Zynga was practically congratulating Vostu for its success and wanted to work together.

But when Zynga poached one of its executives to run its Brazil operations, Vostu cut ties with the competitior.

Zynga alleged that Vostu ripped off CityVille.

But eerily similar versions appeared on Playdom, Gamester and LIFO before Zynga.

Zynga used this defence to say that Vostu copied all of its games

Vostu fired back with similar games that preceded Zynga's.

Sure, Zynga's Cafe World and Vostu's Cafe Mania look similar.

But Playfish's Restaurant City came first, says Vostu.

Zynga also says Vostu stole its icons

But again, Playfish made its icons first.

Zynga cited Vostu's poker game as a copy cat.

But Vostu notes that it's hard to make a poker game without dealers, players and cards.

Zynga has also used Vostu's ideas and made them its own.

Vostu states in its counterclaim that Zynga has borrowed inspiration from its games.

For example, Vostu says that its MiniFazenda game's customised backgrounds and greenhouses were later copied by Zynga's FarmVille.

Lastly, Zynga never indicated that Vostu was doing anything wrong in its 9 months of communication with Vostu.

Vostu states that Zynga got in touch and wanted to work together. It wanted Vostu to be its international arm.

But Vostu alleges that Zynga launched games in Portuguese shortly after their meetings and poached one if its employees to run the Brazilian operations. After that, Vostu says it stopped communicating with Zynga.

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