Zynga Sues Former CityVille Director For Stealing Trade Secrets When He Left

Zynga filed a lawsuit Friday against Alan Patmore, former general manager of CityVille, alleging that Patmore stole trade secrets and confidential information when he left the company.

As VentureBeat and others report, Patmore left Zynga on August 16 of this year. Court documents filed in the California Superior Court in San Francisco claim that immediately before his departure, Patmore uploaded 760 Zynga documents to his personal Dropbox account.

Patmore now holds a role at Zynga competitor Kixeye. Among the trade secrets Patmore took with him, Zynga claims, are:

  • Data concerning the "unique and propietary method by which Zynga identifies which games and game mechanics will be successful"
  • The game design document, informational spreadsheets, and development progress reports for an unreleased Zynga game currently in development
  • Confidential Zynga revenue information
  • Internal assessments regarding all plans and metrics surrounding CityVille
  • "Historic and future monetization plans," stragetic plans, and internal assessments of other Zynga games
  • "More than ten" game documents outlining features, pitches, gameplay mock-ups, and conceptual renderings for Zynga games
  • The entirety of Patmore's 14-month e-mail history at Zynga

The suit points out that Kixeye "ranks 34th in the industry" according to monthly user counts, and that "the data Patmore took from Zynga could be used to improve a competitor's internal understanding and know-how of core game mechanics" and other key features of social game design.

A representative for Zynga declined to comment on the case.

This is just the latest in a long string of legal tangles for Zynga over the course of 2012. The company's stock has dropped significantly over the course of the year, eventually leading to lawsuits alleging insider trading. The social gaming giant is also fighting a lawsuit from EA claiming that The Ville is a rip-off of The Sims Social.

Zynga suing former employee for stealing trade secrets [VentureBeat]


Zynga vs. Patmore