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Zynga, after becoming the most famous social gaming publisher thanks to FarmVille, CityVille, FrontierVille, FishVille, YoVille, and PetVille, has threatened a company with the audacity to use the "Ville" suffix in a game.
Zynga has reportedly threatened to sue Overtime Apps, creator of Blingville, unless it changes the name of its game. The accused issued a response, saying:
"Zynga does not own and has not registered or applied for any trademark registrations at the USPTO for any trademark rights in the word 'Blingville' or any word marks similar thereto...Blingville's use of the trademark 'Blingville' in its social networking game constitutes a fair use of the trademark."
Overtime Apps may claim that it doesn't have ulterior motives, but it's hard to imagine that it didn't use "Blingville" because of the recognition of Zynga's games... but is it really fair to prevent other companies from using an extremely common five-letter town name suffix? If Overtime is actively attempting to create confusion, we guess there's a case, but still... really? My town in Animal Crossing was called CoolVille - it's not as if Zynga was the first to use the suffix. Remember the "edge" nonsense?
Next time, if you want to keep your trademarks safe, come up with something actually unique. You can't use a completely generic, uncreative term for your product and then expect nobody else to use an equally generic name. The world just doesn't work like that.
Then again, Zynga probably has some pretty powerful lawyers, and, being smaller, Overtime Apps may want to avoid the cost of a legal battle all together. So... we guess the world does work like that, sometimes.
Jan 25, 2011
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