Zynga Sues Former Staffer for Trade Secret Theft

By Devon Glenn 

Zynga has filed suit against a former employee. When “CityVille” general manager Alan Patmore left Zynga for a rival gaming company in August, he apparently took sensitive documents from his work computer along with him.

Zynga filed a complaint against Patmore at the Superior Court in San Francisco on Friday for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of written contract.

The suit alleges that Patmore, who is now Kixeye’s VP of product, uploaded more than 760 documents from his work computer to his personal “Dropbox” account just before he left for his new job.

The documents contained internal assessments of how well Zynga’s games are performing, the company’s past and future monetization plans, confidential information on employee compensation and performance, confidential information about the company’s revenue, and development reports on games in progress, including design documents for 10 unreleased games. In addition, Patmore had backed up 14 months’ worth of internal emails – basically, the suit argues, every email he had ever sent or received from the company while he was general manager.

The company has also placed a restraining order on the former employee that prohibits him from sharing or using any of this data.

AllThingsD got a statement from Kixeye: “Kixeye has nothing to do with the suit. Unfortunately, this appears to be Zynga’s new employee retention strategy: Suing former employees to scare current employees into staying. They’ve clearly exhausted other options in their employee retention playbook.”

Zynga vs. Patmore