The ongoing battle between the social gaming companies Zynga and Kixeye has taken a new twist as Kixeye have filed a retaliatory lawsuit against Zynga filing a cross-complaint with the Superior Court of California.
For those of you who don’t know the history of the dispute between the two companies, it all began when Zynga filed a legal complaint against former CityVille general manager Alan Patmore who left the company to join Kixeye in August.
Zynga claimed that Patmore had unlawfully taken 763 files from the company before he left including confidential game designs and took them with him to Kixeye. Then Zynga went even further naming Kixeye as a defendant in the lawsuit and stating that they were aware that Patmore had the files and wanted access to them. They wanted damages from Kixeye and attorney fees.
In Kixeye’s retaliatory suit, they have stated that they have no desire to see the Zynga files because the two companies work on completely different products.
Kixeye CEO Will Harbin told CNET; “We will fight to our last breath to keep this predatory company from accessing our confidential information and best practices…We intend to defend ourselves from Zynga’s legal bullying for as long as it takes to reveal the truth — that Kixeye played no part in this.”
The cross-complaint moves to define the difference between the two companies, stating: “Kixeye is a smaller company that makes games specifically designed to appeal to a niche market, while Zynga is a large company that makes games targeted at obtaining mass appeal…Comparing Kixeye’s games to Zynga’s games is like comparing a Ducati racing motorcycle to a minivan.”
Back in October, Patmore admitted that he took documents from Zynga when he left and the court awarded the company a temporary restraining order. In their cross-complaint Kixeye also admitted that Patmore did share 2 documents with them but that neither of the shared documents included proprietary information or trade secrets.
Kixeye wants the Superior Court of California to prevent Zynga from inferring in its recruiting practices and business relations, they are also seeking attorney fees and costs.
Harbin said: “We believe Zynga is manipulating the legal process and fabricating claims against Kixeye to access our trade secrets…This matter was shameful enough when it was focused on bleeding one of their former employees. When they broadened this frivolous claim to include Kixeye, they showed their hand.”
Here’s Kixeye’s complaint:
Things aren’t so great for Zynga at the moment, just last month they laid off hundreds of employees across several branches in the U.S. and closed up their Boston office. The way in which the redundancies were carried out got them a lot of negative criticism in the press and underground hacking group Anonymous has set their sights on punishing the company for taking actions that they believe will “end the U.S game market as we know it.”