Zynga Sues Former CityVille GM

Zynga Sues Former CityVille GM

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Zynga alleges that the former General Manager of CityVille made off with trade secrets when he left the company to join a rival developer.

Alan Patmore joined Zynga as "Studio General Manager" in June 2011 and a year later was promoted to General Manager of the popular CityVille. But he resigned from the company on August 16 to take the position of Product Vice President at War Commander studio Kixeye. That's all well and good, but what isn't kosher is that before he left, he allegedly uploaded more than 760 confidential files stored on his Zynga-issued laptop to his Dropbox account and then tried to cover it up by uninstalling and deleting Dropbox from the computer.

"The data Patmore unlawfully and intentionally stole from Zynga encompasses some of Zynga's most valuable and confidential information," including how the company determines which games and game mechanics will be successful, Zynga claimed in a lawsuit filed against Patmore, as well as an "internal assessment of every game feature rolled out over the last quarter" in CityVille, "historic and future monetization plans," game design documents, confidential revenue information and a whole lot more. His entire email account, including "14 months of confidential communications reserved exclusively for Zynga's executive staff," also went along for the ride.

The lawsuit tosses a few zings at Patmore's new place of employment, saying that Kixeye has "sought to achieve relevance in the online social gaming community" but remains ranked 34th among online free-to-play game developers and "has not developed and released a Top Ten game."

"Kixeye has failed to achieve success in the online free-to-play gaming market because it lacks Zynga's know-how concerning how to develop successful and sought-after games and effectively monetize within those games on a mass scale," it continues, before later concluding that that's why Patmore did what he did: He got a VP's desk at Kixeye in exchange for giving the company access to some of Zynga's most valuable secrets.

Zynga is seeking an injunction against any use of the stolen data, including "engaging in any activities related to the planning, design or development of online game applications that in any way involve the use or disclosure of Zynga's trade secrets or other confidential or proprietary data," the return of said data, general damages, punitive damages, restitution, attorney's fees and all the rest of the usual.

Regardless of whether Patmore actually took the information as Zynga claims, Kixeye says it has nothing to do with the lawsuit. "Unfortunately, this appears to be Zynga's new employee retention strategy: Suing former employees to scare current employees into staying," a rep told All Things D. "They've clearly exhausted other options in their employee retention playbook."

Source: Gamasutra

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Zynga, Somehow how doubt Kixeye will end-up writing that check mate.

"..including how the company determines which games and game mechanics will be successful.."

I wasn't aware that copying off other games required so much confidential paperwork.

Well, that gives you an idea of what kind of people work in the social gaming industry.

So...very...fucking...soulless.

"Has not made a top-ten game"...really now? Can you be any more shallow than that? You can tell they measure game quality by how smartly you manage to rip people off through "monetizing" them.

To be honest, I don't care about the guy, if he took stuff he had no right to, he should pay, that's all fine and dandy, I just...ugh...I don't give a damn about all of this. This is business, pure business, I come here for fun game stuff...and cause the podcasts are funny. :P

Andy Chalk:
The lawsuit tosses a few zings at Patmore's new place of employment, saying that Kixeye has "sought to achieve relevance in the online social gaming community" but remains ranked 34th among online free-to-play game developers and "has not developed and released a Top Ten game."

Sounds like that Kixeye ad making fun of Zynga hit a little close to home.

Still... as much as I dislike Zynga, I don't know who to root for on this one. I've never seen anything good out of EITHER company.

Made off with TRADE SECRETS, boy that must be the worst kept secret in history. So theoretically if he hadn't worked there and just figured out the formula by observation you wouldn't be able to do shit?

Oh... Okay then.

Lt. Rocky:
"..including how the company determines which games and game mechanics will be successful.."

I wasn't aware that copying off other games required so much confidential paperwork.

Zynga's strategy is pretty simple actually:
Copy anything remotely successful after dumbing it down and stealing assets from said successful franchises/games.

Of course, Zynga doesn't want anyone to have corroboration of what we've all been saying all along. That's why they're inferring "secrets". Yeah. Right. Ha!

I bet the files he stole aren't the trade secret Zynga is worried he is taking to his new employer. The trade secret is the fact he stole a companies IP in order to make a game at a different company. Zynga don't want another company copying their development methods.

Well, if he really did steal documents that were listed confidential by Zynga then that is a breach of his contract, and Zynga do have the right to sue, the same way if you printed off a pile of employee emails, internal memos and product information from your work and took it home or to your next job that would be a breach of contract (at our IT company, every internal email has the footnote that it is the property of the companies, and it is illegal to copy, reproduce or use the contents of that email outside the company)

However, this happened back in 2011, over a year ago, why are they only getting round to it now?

And I don't see how expressing how unsuccessful the company he is working for is helps their case since they are trying to prove that he used that information to make the company more successful... kinda shooting yourselves in the foot there guys.

Even if this is a legitimate law case, they really can't help being dicks, even in their legal documents!

"The data Patmore unlawfully and intentionally stole from Zynga encompasses some of Zynga's most valuable and confidential information,"

Can they really get away with saying that anything of thiers is confidential, much less vauluable, anymore?

Speaking of which is Zynga stock still worth chump change?

If the guy stole something that Zynga themselves stole... Then who's really at fault? The world may never know, and it most certainly will never care.

Stole Zynga trade secrets...

Sooooooo he stole the Ctrl, V, and P keys from every keyboard in Zynga HQ?

*drum-rimshot* :P

Regardless of whether Patmore actually took the information as Zynga claims, Kixeye says it has nothing to do with the lawsuit. "Unfortunately, this appears to be Zynga's new employee retention strategy: Suing former employees to scare current employees into staying," a rep told All Things D. "They've clearly exhausted other options in their employee retention playbook."

Coupled with what everyone else has said...

Zing...

Shit like this really makes me wonder... You steal everything you own, you treat your employees like shit, and then you bully them when they try to run away? Are the CEO's of companies like this comically short and misanthropic, wearing a monocle?

I don't know much about what Zynga has, I know they do research into psychological stuff. I've talked with developers at other companies like Popcap. It amazing the amount of research they do for these common social/causual games. Just to know how to score a bejeweled game so a player feels like they accomplishing something or the right type of sound to play to keep them addicted.

I don't doubt these documents are valuable in the right hands and why other companies would love to see them.

Who the hell WANTS Zynga's secrets... arn't they in super-debt?

I don't think we need a former employee to know Zynga's "trade secrets". Seriously, don't root for either of them, but if you want to know who the bigger evil here is, go play Farmville. Oh! I know! You know those times when you get to witness two trolls fight in a chat room? That's the perfect opportunity to go make a sandwich.

This lawsuit is the gaming industry equivalent of everyone's chance to go play a good game.

Silly Zynga, you can't own what you stole.

he allegedly uploaded more than 760 confidential files stored on his Zynga-issued laptop to his Dropbox account and then tried to cover it up by uninstalling and deleting Dropbox from the computer.

Note to future white-collar criminals: use SpiderOak instead.

I think team rocket are more successful then ZYNGA

Show of hands:

How many people think Zynga has enough money left to keep a lawsuit going for more than a week?

 

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