Zynga claims employee stole sensitive information before jumping ship

Alan Patmore left position as CityVille general manager to become Kixeye VP

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Zynga's had some trouble holding onto executives recently, and the social gaming company has elected to strike back at one who decided to join a competitor. Alan Patmore, the former general manager of Zynga's CityVille Facebook game, is being sued for allegedly stealing sensitive information from the company to use at his next job, as reported by AllThingsD.

Patmore left Zynga in August to become vice president of product at rival social gaming company Kixeye. Zynga claims he backed up 760 pages of documents which could be used to “improve a competitor’s internal understanding and know-how of core game mechanics and monetization techniques, its execution, and ultimately its market standing to compete more effectively with Zynga" to a personal Dropbox account before departing.

Zynga was able to acquire a temporary restraining order on Friday to prevent Patmore from using or otherwise disclosing any of the uploaded assets, which included a majority of the emails he sent or received in his 14 months at the position. Kixeye responded to AllThingsD with scorn for its competitor's legal maneuvering.

"Kixeye has nothing to do with the suit. Unfortunately, this appears to be Zynga’s new employee retention strategy: Suing former employees to scare current employees into staying. They’ve clearly exhausted other options in their employee retention playbook."

Somewhat ironically, Zynga is also involved in a countersuit against Electronic Arts, alleging that EA has engaged in anticompetitive legal threats to keep employees from joining Zynga.

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