Social gaming powerhouses Zynga and Playdom finally announced the settlement of their outstanding litigation that ensued after Zynga accused PLaydom of stealing its trade secrets book. There aren’t too many details, but Zynga is very pleased with the outcome.
Zynga filed a lawsuit against Playdom and a number of defendants in California back in September of last year over violations such as misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, breach of the duty of loyalty, tortuous interference with contracts, tortious interference with existing and prospective economic advantage and unfair competition. Zynga allegedly accused ex-employees of downloading 70 files to a USB storage device prior to leaving to Playdom. Three of these files were proprietary Zynga documents.
Zynga allegedly blamed 4 defendants that were hired away by Playdom and took Zynga’s playbook with them. The playbook apparently included details of social gaming best practices for developing distinctive social games. The irony lies in the fact that Zynga itself hasn’t notably created innovative themes although it does excel at superior gameplay and social mechanics that can be seen in games like FrontierVille and soon to launch CityVille.
Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis stated, “The settlement reflects the very serious nature of the conduct involved, as reflected by the preliminary injunction, restraining orders, and contempt order issued by the Santa Clara Superior Court. We have great respect for Disney and are thankful that following its acquisition of Playdom, Disney resolved the matter to our satisfaction.”
The situation was dense, involving multiple people, and probably the reason it took so long for the conflict to resolve. Ex-Zynga employees were found to be communicating with Playdom via email about proprietary information regarding Zynga games with one employee named Rohrl actually stealing an entire game idea. Playdom apparently incentivized Rohrl and others involved in the lawsuit with bonuses to acquire such information.
The court has in the past prevented Playdom from using any of the stolen trade secrets although Zynga had alleged Playdom to breach its system and steal valuable data on over 1.5M Zynga users from Texas Hold ‘Em that it solicited for its own poker title Poker Palace.