I just received a completely ridiculous cease and desist email from Zynga’s lawyers. Get this…Almost a year and a half ago, I released a multiplayer word game and I used the phrase “& friends” at the end to signify that it is a multiplayer game that you can play with your google plus friends through google play game services. Many other large and small time devs have done this exact same thing. They must have just recently trademarked the phrase “WITH FRIENDS” and they are threatening to sue me if I don’t change the name of my game within 7 days because “& Friends” is quote “confusingly similar to the ‘WITH FRIENDS’ Family of Trademarks owned by Zynga”. This is laughable and nothing more than corporate bullying. I can only assume that they have targeted me because my game is consistently ranked equally or higher than some of their word games. Has anyone else ever had to deal with anything like this, and aren’t they supposed to take that issue and DCMA requests up with the distributor Google Play anyway? Seriously, this seems completely crazy to me. Here’s some of the letter.
We serve as intellectual property counsel to Zynga Inc. (“Zynga”). Among other things, Zynga publishes and owns intellectual property rights in the ‘WITH FRIENDS™ family of social games, which includes Words with Friends®, Hanging with Friends®, Chess with Friends®, Scramble With Friends®, Matching with Friends™, Gems with Friends™, Games with Friends®, Running With Friends™, as well as other ‘WITH FRIENDS games in various stages of development (collectively the “‘WITH FRIENDS Family of Trademarks”). Each of Zynga’s games with the ‘WITH FRIENDS Family of Trademarks is published and played by millions of users on various social networking portals, including Apple’s App Store, Facebook, and Android services.
Zynga has consistently used and promoted the ‘WITH FRIENDS Family of Trademarks together as a family and, as a result of Zynga’s extensive marketing efforts and commercial success, the ‘WITH FRIENDS Family of Trademarks is strongly identified by consumers with Zynga’s reputation for quality.
It has come to our attention that XXXX has developed and launched a mobile application called “XXXXXX & Friends,” which is available through the Google Play marketplace (https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...d=com.xxx.xxxx). XXXX’s use of the name “XXXXX & Friends” for its mobile application is confusingly similar to the ‘WITH FRIENDS Family of Trademarks owned by Zynga, and users are likely to believe, erroneously, that its application is published, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Zynga. XXXX’s use of “XXXXXX & Friends” also dilutes the distinctiveness of Zynga’s famous ‘WITH FRIENDS Family of Trademarks.
Zynga has invested substantial time and resources in developing and promoting the ‘WITH FRIENDS Family of Trademarks, and it vigorously protects its rights in its marks, both collectively and individually. Zynga demands that XXXXX immediately cease use of the name “XXXXX & Friends” in connection with its mobile application, and refrain from further exploitation of the goodwill that Zynga has developed with its ‘WITH FRIENDS Family of Trademarks.
We anticipate that XXXXX will accede to this demand, and ask that you confirm by September 15, 2014 that it has ceased use of the name “XXXXX & Friends” in connection with its mobile application. Nothing contained in this letter constitutes an express or implied waiver of any rights, remedies, or defenses of Zynga, all of which are expressly reserved.