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Zynga just filed a blistering response to Electronic Arts’ claims that it ripped off one of its games, The Sims Social, to create another game, The Ville.Zynga’s response breaks down to three main points:
- EA’s claims are overly broad. This is the standard legal manoeuvring you’d expect.
- EA tried to get Zynga to agree to an improper no-poaching agreement. EA hated that Zynga was hiring so many of its employees, and threatened a lawsuit to get it to stop. No-poach agreements were a hot topic in Silicon Valley a few years ago. Apple, Google, Intel, and other companies had informal agreements not to recruit each others’ employees. Now those companies are defending themselves against an antitrust lawsuit.
- This isn’t about copyright, it’s about ego. Zynga claims that EA CEO John Riccitiello was getting heat from his board over Zynga’s success, and demanded that his lawyers slow Zynga down with lawsuits.
The big irony: These companies are fighting in court over Facebook games, which are at best a stagnant market, when they should be focusing on creating hot new mobile titles.
In a statement, Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis more or less admitted as much:
Today we responded to EA’s claims which we believe have no merit. 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. We look forward to getting back to focusing all our efforts on delighting our players.
Here’s the response, in three parts:
(Click here to see the documents if they’re not displaying.)
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