Zynga Files Lawsuit Against Casual Sex App Company "Bang With Friends"
July 31, 2013 12:07 PM
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Zynga said that "Bang With Friends" infringes on the popular line of games offered by Zynga like "Words With Friends"
Zynga is all hot and bothered over an app maker's name choice for its
casual sex application
: "Bang With Friends."
Zynga, the social gaming company known for titles like "FarmVille," has a bone to pick with app company Bang With Friends Inc., which gave its app the same name. "Bang With Friends" aims to pair up Facebook friends for casual sex.
Zynga filed a lawsuit against Bang With Friends Inc. in a San Francisco federal court yesterday, saying that the name of its application infringes on the popular line of games offered by Zynga, including "Words With Friends" and "Chess With Friends."
Clearly, Zynga doesn't want its good name -- which makes social games for children and families -- to be associated with the casual sex app for fear that many current and potential customers will stop using its services.
Zynga wants the company to be banned from using the name "Bang With Friends" for its app as well as unspecified damages. The case is Zynga Inc. v. Bang With Friends Inc., 13-03517, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California in San Francisco.
Aside from the sex app, Zynga already has plenty of problems on its hands. For starters, the social gaming company has experienced financial trouble since its initial public offering (IPO). It filed its Form S-1 registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on July 1, 2011 and began trading December 16, 2011 at $10 per share. However, stock fell throughout 2012, hitting as low as $2.27 per share by October.
Last month, it announced plans to lay off 18 percent of its workforce (or about 520 employees) by August 2013. It had about 2,900 employees at the time of announcement. However, the layoffs are expected to save Zynga about $70 million to $80 million.
Just last week, Zynga announced that it will
no longer seek to offer real-money gaming
-- which is basically gambling -- in the United States due to the fact that gambling with real money is illegal in several U.S. states. Obtaining the correct licenses would be a struggle, and Zynga prefers to focus on the basics once again like free-to-play games on mobile devices. This news disappointed many investors, some of which cut targets for the stock to $2.75 from $3.00 while others downgraded the stock from "buy" to "hold."
The problem with Zynga is that it can't keep up in the mobile space. Its Web business has been declining faster than expected, and its mobile efforts aren't enough to fill the gap.
Another issue for Zynga is that its
casual, social games
don't seem to have long-term viability. It has had to axe 18 games in recent months -- including PetVille, FishVille, Mafia Wars 2 and Vampire Wars -- due to reduced popularity (and to make room for new games).
While Zynga still has a few successful games, like FarmVille, they haven't moved to the mobile space quickly enough, and players have increasingly lost interest over the years. It lost 40 percent of its monthly active users in Q2, and revenue dropped 20 percent.
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RE: I'm Confused.
7/31/2013 2:47:30 PM
I don't think Zynga has established a broad enough familiarity to claim ownership of "[x] with friends". Even Apple hasn't been able to stop other companies from naming things "i[Product]", despite the vast number of products they sell that begin with "i". I suspect that Zynga knows that they have no case, but also know that this company can't afford the legal costs to fight them in court, and certainly can't afford to pay the damages if they should lose, so they'll probably just give in to Zynga's demands. Big companies use meritless lawsuits to scare smaller companies into capitulation all the time.
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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