Zynga Sues Casual Sex App Over Trademark Infringement

Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) sued the maker of the “Bang With Friends” casual sex Internet application, claiming it infringes Zynga’s trademark for its “with friends” family of games.

Bang With Friends Inc., which makes an application matching Facebook friends anonymously for casual sex, registered its Internet domain name last year, according to the complaint filed yesterday federal court in San Francisco.

The company “selected the name ‘Bang With Friends’ for its casual sex matchmaking app with Zynga’s game trademarks fully in mind,” according to the complaint. The name infringes a trademark covering games such as “Words With Friends” and “Chess With Friends,” according to the filing.

Zynga seeks a court order barring the company from using the name “Bang With Friends” in connection with any social-networking applications in the U.S. and unspecified damages.

“As a technology company, we take intellectual property seriously, and will evaluate the case in detail once we receive a copy,” Bang With Friends said in an e-mailed statement.

More than a dozen top managers have left Zynga since the company’s December 2011 initial public offering, as waning demand for its games on Facebook Inc. (FB)’s network has sent the shares down more than 70 percent, eroding the value of equity-based compensation.

‘Mafia Wars’

At the time of its IPO, Zynga was the largest maker of games played on Facebook, with popular titles such as “CityVille,” “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars.” The IPO raised $1 billion, the biggest debut by a U.S. Internet company since Google Inc. raised $1.9 billion in its 2004 IPO, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Zynga filed a lawsuit to stop blatant infringement of its valuable ‘With Friends’ brand,” Renee Lawson, the company’s deputy general counsel, said in an e-mailed statement. “Zynga is compelled to file suit to prevent further consumer confusion and protect its intellectual property rights against infringement.”

The case is Zynga Inc. v. Bang With Friends Inc., 13-03517, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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