Zynga Involved in Lawsuit Over “Ville” Suffix
A Houston-based game developer named Night Owl Games filed a preemptive lawsuit with the Texas court, hoping to find declaratory judgment that their own proposed trademark for the name "Dungeonville" does not infringe on Zynga's own trademarks, including Facebook social games like Farmville and Petville.
According to court documents from the Texas district, Night Owl Games filed the trademark for the name "Dungeonville" on February 10, 2011, with the US Trademark and Patent Office. Night Owl needs this name for a playable level in their social network game, Dungeon Overlord.
Five months later, on July 19, 2011, Zynga requested and was granted an extension of time from the US Trademark and Patent Office to oppose Night Owl Games' trademark. Zynga also contacted Night Owl to inform them that the name "Dungeonville" has similarities to numerous Zynga trademarks, and that the company wished to resolve the issue outside of the court, while without filing and opposition to the Patent Office.
After the two developers' legal counsels conversed, Zynga asked Night Owl Games to withdraw its patent application for "Dungeonville", under the claim that all uses of words and trademarks ending in the suffix "ville" infringe on Zynga's marks.
Night Owl Games refused, and therefore filed for a declaratory judgment, asking the Texas district court to declare that their use of "Dungeonville" does not in any way infringe Zynga's trademarks, and that Zynga be ordered to pay for Night Owl's court fees and costs. According to local news reports, a hearing will most likely be scheduled within the next 30 days.