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‘Farmville’ Maker Zynga Sued Over Patents for Facebook Games

‘Farmville’ Maker Zynga Sued Over Patents for Facebook Games
Zynga Inc. signage is displayed in the lobby of the company's office in San Francisco. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Zynga Inc., the largest developer of games for Facebook Inc.’s social network, was sued by Agincourt Gaming LLC for infringing two patents covering features of online games including “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars.”

Zynga, which is preparing for an initial public offering, has a history of copying rather than devising its own games, Susman Godfrey LLP, the law firm representing Agincourt, said today in a statement. In its lawsuit, filed in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, Agincourt seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring the conduct.

The patents cover processes for credit-based online gaming and a prize-redemption system based on the outcome of game play, according to Dallas-based Agincourt’s complaint.

“Agincourt’s patents cover the most lucrative aspects of online social gaming -- including those comprising the bulk of Zynga’s revenues -- as they contain the crucial ‘link’ that allows for global, interactive prize redemption over the Internet,” Bill Carmody, a senior partner at Susman Godfrey, said in the statement.

“We’re not commenting” on the lawsuit, Adam Isserlis, a spokesman for San Francisco-based Zynga, said in an e-mailed statement.

The infringing Zynga games also include FishVille, CafeWorld, CityVille, Vampire Wars, PetVille, YoVille, FrontierVille, Treasure Isle, Empires & Allies and Poker, according to the complaint.

Segan Suit

The suit is at least the second against Zynga in less than a month. Segan LLC, based in Long Island City, New York, sued July 29 in Delaware federal court alleging patent infringement.

Founded in 2007, Zynga turned profitable last year with net income of $90.6 million. The company, which filed July 1 to raise $1 billion in an IPO, owns four of the most popular applications on Facebook.

Zynga said in July that it has more than 232 million monthly active users, making it the biggest developer of social games.

The case is Agincourt Gaming LLC v. Zynga Inc., 11-00720, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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