Zynga Hits Back Hard At EA Over Sims Copyright Suit [Update]

Illustration for article titled Zynga Hits Back Hard At EA Over Sims Copyright Suit [Update]

Remember when EA sued Zynga? Well, the FarmVille makers aren't just going to lie down and take it. They're back in the ring and swinging like never before.


EA's aggressive, incendiary lawsuit claimed that Zynga's The Ville ripped off EA's own The Sims Social. Zynga has filed three documents in response: A motion to strike, a response to EA's suit, and a counterclaim. (You can read all three documents in their entirety below.)

Zynga's general counsel Reggie Davis prefaced the filings with the following statement:

"Today we responded to EA's claims which we believe have no merit. We also filed a counterclaim which addresses actions by EA we believe to be anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements. We look forward to getting back to focusing all our efforts on delighting our players."

In the first filing, Zynga moves to strike elements of EA's complaint which it deems "redundant, immaterial, impertinent and/or scandalous matter that is unfairly prejudicial to Zynga."

In their second filing, the response to EA's suit, Zynga shows screenshots of its past games which the company claims demonstrate that The Ville is a natural evolution of Zynga's game design, from YoVille to Café World to The Ville.


Zynga also claims that they didn't deliberately steal talent from EA to copy their games, but that people left EA because the company had an "inability to compete successfully in the modern market for social games playable on the internet and mobile platforms."

In the third document, the counterclaim against EA, Zynga claims that EA has taken "an anti-competitive and unlawful scheme to stop Zynga from hiring its employees and to restrain the mobility of EA employees in violation of the spirit of antitrust laws." From the countersuit:

EA explicitly communicated to Zynga that, although Zynga's past hiring was lawful, EA's Chief Executive Officer John Riccitiello was "on the war path," "incensed" and "heated" and intent on stopping Zynga's future hiring of EA employees. Mr. Riccitiello lamented the fact that Zynga was able to attract his talent with better compensation packages that EA just can't match and feared losing additional executives and looking bad to his Board and shareholders.


There's a ton more shade thrown in the legal documents. Check them out below.

Here's part one, Zynga's motion to strike:


Here's part 2, Zynga's answer and demand for a jury trial:


And here's part 3, Zynga's counterclaim.


And here, for reference, is EA's original complaint, filed in early August:


A lot of invective in there, and a lot of conflicting claims, but one thing's clear: Zynga isn't messing around. Get your popcorn; Godzilla and Mothra are in the town.


We've reached out to EA for comment and will update this story when we hear back.

Update: EA has responded with the following statement, sent in an email to Kotaku from EA spokesman John Reseburg:

This is a predictable subterfuge aimed at diverting attention from Zynga's persistent plagiarism of other artists and studios. Zynga would be better served trying to hold onto the shrinking number of employees they've got, rather than suing to acquire more.





EA sends an email to Kotaku trying to get good press but instead comes off just as unprofessional as Zynga. Sorry EA but the gaming community already despises you.