Settle With Friends? Zynga and Bang With Friends End Trademark Dispute.
Social gaming giant Zynga and the makers of Bang With Friends, the casual sex matchmaking application, have reached a settlement on Monday, according to a court filing, ending an ongoing trademark infringement case initiated by Zynga earlier this summer.
The case was centered upon the latter company’s name, which Zynga had alleged was chosen with “Zynga’s game trademarks fully in mind,” according to the initial lawsuit filing. Zynga’s With Friends franchise is one of its most popular, composed of hits such as Words With Friends and Scramble With Friends, among others.
“Zynga Inc. and Bang With Friends, Inc. are pleased that they have reached an amicable resolution of their dispute,” a Zynga spokesperson told AllThingsD. “Although the terms of the settlement are confidential, Bang With Friends, Inc. acknowledges the trademark rights that Zynga has in its With Friends marks and will be changing its corporate name and rebranding its services in the near future.”
“Details on the next version of Bang With Friends can be found at TheNextBang.com,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson from TheNextBang did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The case is similar to those of many other tech companies going after smaller companies which seem to glean some notoriety by mimicking the titular language of popular franchises. Instagram and Facebook, for instance, have recently pursued litigation against smaller outfits with “Insta” and “Gram” in their titles. Gaming companies like Electronic Arts have also pursued similar cases.
The case does call into question, however, the extent to which technology companies can fairly go after smaller outfits for using language that is similar in their offerings. Not to mention the methodology tech companies use to determine which startups to target.
My guess is, Bang With Friends found a large enough following — with an unsavory enough brand connotation — to concern Zynga to the point of filing suit.
Now the question is, will The Next Web be okay with the new brand?
Read a copy of the original court filing below.