Zynga Sues Vostu, Alleged Copycat Gaming Startup

Zynga's history of "borrowing" not exactly clean

Zynga has filed a lawsuit against Brazilian startup Vostu—owned by Joshua Kushner, brother of Jared—for copyright infringement.

“Vostu's business model is simple: copy Zynga's successful games,” the lawsuit states. “While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, the copying of valuable intellectual property rights is theft.”

Zynga claims that Vostu hasn’t just copied its ideas for games, but that it has replicated every detail, from storylines to in-game items, and even included “mistakes” that appear in Zynga games (like the fact that community buildings in CityVille aren’t connected to roads).

But Zynga has no right to point fingers, Vostu responded in a statement. “Zynga has been accused of copying so many games that they’ve sadly lost the ability to recognize games like ours that are chock full of original content and have been independently created,” said Vostu.

Zynga has been in legal hot water in the past—like when the creators of Mob Wars sued the company over its similar Mafia Wars game.

Regardless of whether Zynga has also “borrowed” ideas in the past, says TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, the company “has never had the chutzpah to not only copy a game idea, but copy every aspect of the game design and mechanics as well,” and feels it’s highly unlikely that Vostu will come out on the winning side of this dispute.