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While the six-month court battle between game developers Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) has seemed like a very heated version of legal volleyball, the acrimonious testimonies have been sorted out and the two companies reached a settlement on Friday in a Northern California district court.
A copy of the agreement, obtained by AllThingsD, showed that the case came to rather anticlimactic finish. All it took to end the series of lawsuits and countersuits was a single sentence that read, “Electronic Arts Inc. and Zynga Inc. hereby stipulate as follows: all claims and counterclaims asserted by both sides in this matter are dismissed with prejudice; the parties shall bear their own fees and costs.”
The fight began in August over Zynga’s social game “The Ville,” which was gaining a rapid following at the time. EA filed a copyright infringement suit against Zynga in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, allegingng that the company’s game was an “unmistakable copy” of EA’s Facebook game “The Sims Social.” The complaint sought an injunction against Zynga’s game and damages. When the game was first released, an EA spokesman told VentureBeat, “Just once, can Zynga publish a game that they didn’t clone from another developer?”
Zynga did not sit back and take the accusations lightly; the company launched a staunch counterattack. The social game developer filed a pair of motions to refute EA’s claims, in which it argued that its game was nothing like “The Sims Social,” and in a third filing, made at the same time, Zynga counter-sued. The company’s general counsel, Reggie Davis, said in a statement seen by AllThingsD that the claim addressed “actions by EA we believe to be anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements.”
The comments made by both parties highlight the extreme competition between the two, both of which were attempting to attract Internet gamers to a genre of titles that simulate real life.
But “The Ville” has become less important to Zynga than it once was; the company announced in October that it would be phasing the game out as part of a restructuring plan aimed at returning the company to profitability. More than a dozen games were relegated to the trash pile along with the “The Ville.”
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