Back in January, Zynga tried to put the screws to a company called Blingville for using “ville” in its name. Blingville did not believe that Zynga had any right to the suffix “ville.” The two companies have entered into a legal battle, and Blingville wants Zynga to pay for its legal fees if the court rules in their favor. This case wouldn’t be complicated if Zynga actually had a trademark for “ville” in the United States. However, Zynga is trying to do that in Europe.
Zynga is so fascinated with “ville” because it has amassed a great fortune from its games on Facebook such as CityVille and FarmVille. It’s all too easy for someone to try to piggyback on that success simply by putting “ville” in the title of its games. Zynga could try to make “ville” exclusive to the company when the product is referring to a particular type of game.
In the beginning of this month, Zynga filed for a trademark on “ville” with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market. Zynga wants the trademark to be associated with things such as online computer and electronic games, entertainment services, and clothing.
Facebook did something similar last year when it was granted a trademark on “face.” That doesn’t mean no one else can have a site with “face” in the title. It just means Facebook owns the trademark that pertains to,”Telecommunication services, namely, providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars.”