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Zynga and Disney Settle “Secret Sauce” Lawsuit

Did you know that Zynga, makers of Farmville, sued Disney Entertainment more than a year ago?  You see, Disney had just acquired one of Zynga’s competitors Playdom.  Playdom, according to Zynga, had been poaching ex-Zynga employees and had even gotten a hold of Zynga’s “playbook,” a guide to the company’s – ahem – “secret sauce.”

Strange but catchy euphemisms aside, here’s what Zynga says the book actually contained:

The Playbook is the result of years of testing, development, trial and error, analysing customer behaviour, game behaviour, optimising past successful techniques, and collective know-how that Zynga has spent millions of dollars and more than tens of thousands of man hours developing and devising…

In the hands of a competitor like Playdom, this document alone creates huge exposure to Zynga as it breaks down in detail and memorialises the company’s key and collective efforts to develop and fit games to the social networking platform in the most successful manner. It is a ‘how-to’ manual that belongs to Zynga.

S0, right.  It teaches you to Zynga like Zynga.

Zynga sued, Playdom made sure that every one knew that it had “no interest in Zynga’s “Playbook” or “secret sauce,”” not that there’s anything wrong with that, and now the case has been settled… but with no firm details on who it was settled for.

Although Zynga seems pretty chipper about the whole thing.  From their statement:

Zynga is extremely pleased with the final resolution of its trade secret suit against Playdom and various individuals. 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.

Sounds a lot like Zynga’s gamble on the new giant parent company having the means to settle without too much thought paid off.

(Edge Magazine via Kotaku.)

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