TLC Sues Zynga Over 'Oregon Trail' Missions in FrontierVille

May 19, 2011 -

The Learning Company, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt subsidiary, has filed a lawsuit against Zynga in the Massachusetts district court over "Oregon Trail" missions in its Facebook game FrontierVille. The complaint alleges that Zynga is infringing on its classic educational game Oregon Trail and seeks an immediate injunction to halt Zynga's missions while the court sorts the whole mess.

The lawsuit uses a YouTube trailer of Zynga's missions as evidence that the similarities between them and its classic game - now also a Facebook game - are striking.

TLC says in its complaint that the social game maker's use of its intilectual property is "deliberate theft of the goodwill associated with the iconic The Oregon Trail Mark, which the company has spent millions of dollars promoting since 1971."

"There can be no doubt that Zynga’s adoption of an identical and confusingly similar mark is willful and intended to free-ride on the established goodwill of The Oregon Trail Mark," the document continues.

The complaint also alleges that TLC had approached Zynga in 2010 to discuss making a Facebook version of the game, but the negotiations fell through. TLC ended up partnering with Blue Fang to make a Facebook version of the game, which launched in February. Zynga went on to create its own set of "Oregon Trail" missions on its own.

Besides the preliminary injunction, TLC is seeking monetary damages. You can read the full complaint here.

Source: Universal Hub by way of Gamasutra


Comments

Re: TLC Sues Zynga Over 'Oregon Trail' Missions in ...

I know we all have fond memories of The Oregon Trail but the Oregon trail is used to refer to the route settlers took from the east while settling the west coast of these United States. TLC does not have a monopoly on that term. I can understand their copyright claim but really the game isn't called "The Oregon Trail", these are just add-on missions called "Oregon Trail" missions. Well what do you want them to call it? The damn route was called the Oregon Trail, of course that is what name they'll choose. If Zygna's game was called Oregon Trail then it would be a clear cut case. But its not, it is called Frontierville. These are add on missions about, guess what, the Oregon Trail. Not a violation of TLC's copyright, in my IANAL opinion.

Re: TLC Sues Zynga Over 'Oregon Trail' Missions in ...

Hey TLC, release a classic emulation, non-battery draining portable version of Oregon Trail on a phone, and I might put my world's smallest violin down to consider supporting your cause.

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Andrew EisenOkay, so I guess I'm not making sense of #notyourshield because it doesn't make any sense.09/18/2014 - 5:28pm
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Andrew EisenMost are really just a look at the crap that happened the previous day when Sarkeesian's new video came out and almost all are exceedingly clear that they're talking about the specific gamers who are being obnoxious.09/18/2014 - 5:17pm
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Michael Chandrawould clearly not apply, since they weren't used as shield. It's more "hey, just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm CISWASP."09/18/2014 - 5:08pm
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Michael ChandraWhich is of course real silly because when there are so many horrible stories and statistics too, it's utterly irrelevant whether some don't mind.09/18/2014 - 5:00pm
Michael ChandraIn this context it would be women claiming they don't see a problem with the stuff, so stop claiming women don't like it!09/18/2014 - 5:00pm
Michael Chandra"You don't speak for me. I am not your shield. You cannot use me to defend your own opinion."09/18/2014 - 4:59pm
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Michael ChandraKrono did just a bit earlier in the shoutbox prh99.09/18/2014 - 4:56pm
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prh99Didn't said anything about #notyourshield or it's origins. Assuming your comment was directed at me.09/18/2014 - 4:28pm
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Michael ChandraSo no, normal gamers feeling attacked was not what sparked #notyourshield and only a fool would suggest otherwise.09/18/2014 - 4:21pm
Michael Chandra#NotYourShield was kickstarted by 4chan people, so don't go and make nonsense claims about that.09/18/2014 - 4:20pm
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