Game developer Zynga built an empire on social networking games like FarmVille, FrontierVille and CityVille. Notice what all those games have in common?
They all have a "ville" suffix, which is why Zynga is readying legal action against Facebook game Blingville, from developers Overtime Apps, claiming that the use of "ville" infringes on its copyright.
As Facebook games become increasingly popular, an inevitable slush of similarly title games ensue. But Blingville.com was registered as a domain name way back in 2004, way before Facebook (which was founded the same year) even entered the social game arena.
Zynga is only threatening to sue at this point, but Blingville is asking the court to declare its use of "ville" doesn't break the law and to have Zynga shell out for the legal costs.
In a similar move, the studio behind vastly popular game Doodle Jump was attempting to lock down the use of "doodle" in iPhone and iPad games.
If Zynga can claim (or attempt to claim) it owns "ville" in gaming, why can't the developers who came up with the Harvest Moon farming sims go after FarmVille? Or whomever made farming games before that?
Also, producers of the television series Smallville, don't try to make a social networking game. The FarmVille developers will be totally pissed off!