Zynga sues over "Bang with Friends"


I think the jokiness / tabooness of the title and the app itself has the potential to perhaps subconsciously shift the general tone of public response supporting their claim to trademark infringement, and is probably a smart one for Zynga to pick for a fight.They’d have a much harder row to hoe fighting an app called, say, “Science with Friends,” which I would expect would illicit a bit more skepticism…


You need more coffee…

“Friend” is a standard facebook term.

“With” is a pretty common preposition.

“Verb With Friends” is not something that somebody should be able to trademark.


Yeah, get some joe; I don’t like this at all. I think Zynga owning a trademark on “… With Friends” is fucking scary. I would very much want them to provide evidence that this app is copying look-and-feel of the icons, interface, and experience or that the developers intended to ride a wave of popularity started by Words With Friends. Letting Zynga win just on the name is a blow.


Couldn’t agree more. If Zynga wins this fight they will own a trademark on any activity “with Friends”

This is all pretty funny coming from a company that steals entire game designs.


Seems reasonable to me. It’s not that they’re asserting a trademark for the term “with friends” in any possible context. It specifically relates to services using Facebook. And it’s obvious this is a play on Words With Friends. I can see them not wanting to be associated with this hookup service.

One day I will trademark a combination of every common noun and preposition. Then I shall sue everyone who dare infringes on my property, and make all the monies.

When that day comes I can finally smile whenever someone expresses their support for nonsensical laws.

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You also need more coffee because you’re being that guy who folds his arms and says, “that’s not funny!” Do you really want to be that guy?


Don’t forget that trademarks apply only within a defined area of trade. Zynga might reasonably end up strongly owning the trademark in the domain of social-network-y computer games named in the format “(word) with friends”; less strongly owning on social-network-y computer programs other than games, on non-social-network-y computer games, or on board games; and very tenuously if at all outside those realms.

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Just did a check and found out Boing is trademarked by a rubber ball company that has been around for 30 years. Boing Boing is clearly simply repeating their trademarked word twice.

What do you plan on renaming the site?


Not how trademark works. You get a trademark within a particular area of trade, within a particular region, and you have to prove that you’ve been exercising that area of trade in that region.

So, you can’t just get a trademark on some words, and wait for someone to start a restaurant in Detroit that uses the words in its name. You would have to have a trademark on the words, in the context of restaurants, in a region that includes Detroit.

So if we consider a virtual undefined space that doesn’t tangibly exist like the internet an area of trade the limitations are… what?

Also from the little experience I have I believe your example is incorrect. A friend of mine who owned a coffee shop was being threatened with legal action by another one location coffee shop with the same name… half way across the country. My friend was consulting legal professionals and the implication was they had priority on the name. Of course maybe my memory or interpretation of the event is incorrect.

Then there’s the insanity of how often larger companies like Chic-Fil-A sue someone every time they use the words “Eat more” in a product or promotional campaign. No matter how small the company and how limited the scope of its reach.

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Don’t hate the player, hate the (crappy) game (company).


I daresay that horse has bolted.

Anyone can threaten with legal action over anything. Doesn’t mean their case has merit. How big companies abuse trademark and copyright law doesn’t actually mean that’s how the law works.

There’s a 20-mile radius around Mattoon Illinois where the “Burger King” trademark is reserved for a one-outlet restaurant that’s used the name since the 1950s - before the big chain became a nationwide thing. In Australia, the Burger King company operates as “Hungry Jack’s” because a completely different company held a the nationwide trademark on “Burger King” before the multinational set foot in Australia.

For a company that does an international business by Internet, then the regional domain might be the Internet. You could call a physical event at a coffee shop “Knit with Friends” and there would be no dilution of Zynga’s trademark - no one is going to think Zynga is associated with something as pleasant and genuine as actual humans getting together to knit and chat.


Well, obviously they don’t want to be associated with a hookup service. It’s not nearly sleazy enough to maintain their brand image.


Do Evil


This is a meritless lawsuit which a game plagiarizer is mounting against the provider of a very worthwhile service,