Sex With Friends? No No! Zynga Says
(CN) - Zynga claims in court that the casual-sex app "Bang With Friends" violates its trademarks on other, "beloved" games you can play With Friends.
Zynga sued Bang With Friends, in San Francisco Federal Court.
Bang With Friends, a Delaware corporation, created an Internet app "that is used to connect people for casual sex," Zynga says in its lawsuit.
It continues: "Based on public reports, the app was created by three twenty-something men over the course of a night and with the help of 'a lot of Red Bull and vodka.' When it came to naming, they did not select from the universe of available unique names. Upon information and belief, they instead named the product 'Bang With Friends' - incorporating Zynga's With Friends mark in its entirety - to leverage and deliberately trade on the fame of Zynga's With Friends family of marks in order to get noticed quickly in the sea of Internet applications."
Zynga clearly feels it is a cut above the three twenty-somethings.
"Plaintiff Zynga is the creator of beloved social games played by millions of people over the Internet on their computers and mobile devices," it says in the complaint. "Zynga has created, invested in, and owns valuable brands and marks associated with its popular games. Among them are Zynga's With Friends family of games, including Words With Friends, Scramble With Friends, Hanging With Friends, Chess With Friends, Matching With Friends, Gems With Friends, and Running With Friends."
Zynga adds: "This is a case about illegal free riding on recognized and valuable intellectual property rights. The 'With Friends' brand is strong and has been associated with one company - Zynga. Now defendant Bang With Friends has entered the market unlawfully using Zynga's 'With Friends' brand with the offering of a service for casual sex. Defendant's principals have admitted their goal was to make their product 'as objectionable as possible.' They even concealed their identities because, as one of the principals explained, the service is 'a little raunchy.' With the disclosure of defendant's intentions to continue - and expand - its acts of infringement, Zynga brings this lawsuit to protect its hard-earned intellectual property rights from defendant's opportunistic exploitation of Zynga's famous family of 'With Friends' trademarks."
Zynga claims the defendants' unfair piggybacking worked: "Forbes.com even went so far as to describe the 'Bang With Friends' app as 'like "Words With Friends," without the letter tiles and clothes.'"
Techcrunch.com reported that Apple booted "Bang With Friends" from the iOS App Store less than 10 days after its debut, in May.
On its website, Bang With Friends advertises the app as "The anonymous, simple, fun way to find friends who are down for the night."
Zynga seeks an injunction and punitive damages for trademark violations and unfair competition.
It is represented by Dennis Wilson with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, of Beverly Hills.