Social games developer Kixeye has filed a counter-suit against Zynga in a scuffle over former Zynga studio general manager Alan Patmore – and what Kixeye calls Zynga’s “predatory” anti-competitive practises.
GamesIndustry reports Kixeye is seeking an injunction blocking Zynga from “litigation against Kixeye with the intent to interfere with the competitors’ right to recruit, hire and/or employ Zynga employees or to gain access to Kiexye’s business information”.
The company is also seeking to block Zynga from suing individual Kixeye employees, and moreover, requests that Zynga be required to “affirmatively notify its employees of their rights to seek employment with a competitors in the State of California, free of threat, coercion, and/or objectively and subjectively baseless sham litigation”, and even supply quarterly sworn certificates assuring its compliance in this matter.
Kixeye’s legal team claims the five weeks it took Zynga to sue Patmore for misappropriation of trade secrets and its later extension to cover Kixeye itself is proof that there is another motivation for the suit. Kixeye believes Zynga sees Kixeye as its main competitior in the “mid-core” sphere which Zynga is chasing.
“Their illustrious history of using their legal department to exploit and slander competitors that they can’t otherwise out-perform is well documented. We will not stand for it,” Kixeye CEO Will Harbin said.
“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. 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.”
Harbin said Kixeye has “ZERO interest” in Zynga’s IP and trade secrets and that its products are “categorically different” from Zynga’s in “almost every way”.
“Claiming that their failed business practices could inform ours further establishes their complete lack of understanding of the gaming business,” Harbin concluded; I like to imagine he received high fives from his crew while they shouted “sick burn”.
Kixeye was responsible for a popular recruiting video which takes jabs at other social gaming companies and is getting a lot of love from the Internet community over the suit and Harbin’s strongly-worded statement, despite its recent involvement in a racism scandal. EA received a similar response when it filed its own suit against the much-vilified Zynga.