SocialApps: FarmVille stole myFarm code

Zynga accused of Facebook skulduggery.

Zynga has been sued for stealing the idea and foundations of FarmVille from myFarm maker SocialApps.

SocialApps accused Zynga of copyright infringement, violation of trade secrets, breach of written contract, breach of implied-in-fact contract and breach of confidence, according to Patent Arcade.

SocialApps alleged that Zynga took confidential myFarm source code in May 2009 under the guise of acquiring the IP. MyFarm was released on Facebook in November 2008 and lets players create virtual farms and raise animals, manage crops and harvest goods to trade or sell to other people.

SocialApps signed a Letter of Agreement allowing Zynga to look at the source code, assuming any use would be compensated and credited. But once Zynga had access, the phone-lines apparently went dead. A month later, in June 2009, Zynga released FarmVille.

SocialApps believes Zynga used the myFarm source code without permisson to build FarmVille upon. No credit nor compensation was ever offered to SocialApps.

SocialApps only formally registered myFarm and its source code with the Copyright Office in June 2011, hence the case's timing.

SocialApps seeks damages in excess of $100,000, as well as a permanent injunction and statutory and punitive damages. SocialApps also wants Zynga's FarmVille profits - eek! - since they are comfortably over $500,000.

SocialApps also claimed Zynga continues to use the pilfered source code for games like FrontierVille, CityVille and FishVille.

At its peak, FarmVille had more than 80 million people playing on Facebook each month. Today, FarmVille has 36.8 million monthly active users.

MyFarm today has 17,241 monthly active users.

Zynga's most subscribed to game at the time of writing is CityVille, which has 80.6 million monthly active users. FrontierVille 12.9 has million monthly active users; FishVille 2.5 million monthly active users.

Zynga's newest game, Empires & Allies, has 45 million monthly active users.

Facebook has more than 750 million active users.

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