By Joe Osborne From games.com
Houston, Tex.-based social game maker Night Owl Games has filed suit against Zynga over the fair use of the title "Dungeonville" in a new level or gameplay mode in its Dungeon Overlord. Night Owl Games took the case to federal court on Nov. 18 after months of dispute with the gaming giant.
Night Owl Games, which received full rights to Dungeon Overlord(which it developed) from SOE recently, filed for the "Dungeonville" trademark in Feb. 10, 2011. In July--just as Zynga filed with the U.S. Trademark office to delay the approval process of "Dungeonville"--the company's lawyer started an email exchange with Night Owl Games. The emails, featured as evidence in Night Owl's lawsuit, ask the company to abandon the trademark.
According to the lawsuit, Night Owl Games offered to hold off on "Dungeonville", but only if Zynga agreed to do the same. Of course, Zynga refused. Based on this email exchange, Zynga seems to believe that it has rights over any use of the suffix "'Ville". Well, at least as it pertains to video games.
Basically, Night Owl Games is asking a Houston federal court judge to rule that "Dungeonville" is not a trademark infringement. Houston Examiner reports that a hearing should be scheduled within 30 days.
This is far from the first time Zynga has attempted to trademark "'Ville" at the butt of a video game title, nor is this a first for the company to oppose potential competitors using the suffix. What might be a first, however, is if Zynga wins.
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