Zynga Says Rival Playdom Stole Its "Secret Sauce," Sues

Social games maker Zynga — which we’ve heard will surpass $100 million revenues this year — is suing rival startup Playdom.

See the court docs →

In the suit, obtained by TechCrunch, Zynga accuses Playdom of poaching Zynga employees and stealing documents.

TechCrunch: Specifically, Zynga accuses an ex-employee of downloading 70 files to a USB storage device two weeks before leaving to join Playdom. Three of the files were proprietary Zynga documents. Another defendant mailed 22 proprietary documents to his personal email account before departing to Playdom.

One of these documents includes the “Zynga Playbook,” — described in the suit as Zynga’s “secret sauce.”

From the suit:

The Zynga Playbook is literally the recipe book that contains Zynga’s “secret sauce,” and its contents would be invaluable to a competitor like Playdom. The Zynga Playbook constitutes a collection in one document of many of the most material non-public commercially valuable concepts, techniques, know-how and best practices for developing successful and distinctive social games.

The Playbook is the result of years of testing, development, trial and error, analysing customer behaviour, game behaviour, optimising past successful techniques, and collective know-how that Zynga has spent millions of dollars and more than tens of thousands of man hours developing and devising, and which could only be compiled by developing and deploying successful games over a period of years to millions of them. In the hands of a competitor like Playdom, this document alone creates huge exposure to Zynga as it breaks down in detail and memorializes the company’s key and collective efforts to develop and fit games to the social networking platform in the most successful manner. It is a “how-to” manual that belongs to Zynga.

Read the story at TechCrunch >

Correction: An earlier version of this post confused Playdom with PlayFish. Zynga is suing Playdom.

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