Vostu Settles Copyright Suits With Zynga in U.S. and Brazil

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By AJ Glasser Comment

Brazilian social game developer Vostu has settled the June 2011 lawsuit filed against it by Zynga for copyright infringement. As part of the deal, Vostu paid Zynga an unspecified amount of monetary compensation and made changes to four of its games.

A joint statement sent to press outlets by both parties reads, “Zynga and Vostu have settled the copyright lawsuits and counterclaims against each other in the United States and Brazil. As part of the settlement, Vostu made a monetary payment to Zynga and made some changes to four of its games. The parties are pleased to have settled their disputes and to now put these matters behind them.”

As we can already see just form Vostu’s updated MegaCity logo below, the presentation of the main female non-playable character doesn’t as closely resemble CityVille’s main female character, Samantha, as it did six months ago when Zynga filed suit. The other games with which Zynga took issue — Café Mania, Pet Mania, Vostu Poker and MiniFazenda — also appear to have received mini-makeovers in branding.

While it could be argued that Zynga isn’t hurting for the money, the settlement does point toward a lower tolerance for cloning in the social game industry than we previously saw in 2009 when the largest developers routinely released games with similar themes and gameplay modes within weeks of one another. Though Zynga has struggled with clone accusations — note the 2009 Mob Wars/Mafia Wars lawsuit — it appears as though the developer has made a conscious effort to avoid directly reproducing what works in other games, instead building new products within genres from the ground up. Vostu seems to be on a similar track, recently releasing Gol Mania, a soccer sim that doesn’t at all resemble any of Zynga’s current game lineup, on Facebook and Google+.