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 EisenI'm just waiting to buy a new Gamecube controller for my Gamecube.11/22/2014 - 7:15pm
Wonderkarphttp://kotaku.com/smash-bros-gamecube-adapters-sold-out-online-prices-g-1662162871 Smash Bros Gamecube adapter sold out, online prices go nuts11/22/2014 - 6:50pm
Andrew EisenI bet there's a lovely comedy of errors surrounding that list's journey to the IGDA's page!11/22/2014 - 6:49pm
Andrew EisenAnd the fact that it was curated by some random person on Twitter should have been another.11/22/2014 - 6:48pm
Andrew EisenYep, it's pretty clear that whoever at the IGDA grabbed that list, didn't look at it first. I think the fact that there's over 10,000 names on it should have been a bit of a red flag.11/22/2014 - 6:44pm
Wonderkarppenguin books is on the list. wow.11/22/2014 - 6:43pm
Wonderkarpthats better, though I'd prefer something a little more than a simple tweet, I'll take it.11/22/2014 - 6:37pm
Andrew EisenKate Edwards' Twitter: "like people, tools are imperfect; we've removed it for now."11/22/2014 - 6:35pm
Andrew EisenHard to say with any certainty but it appears it at least understands the tool didn't do what it thought it did.11/22/2014 - 6:34pm
WonderkarpI've yet to find the IGDA responding too the situation other than deleting a link.11/22/2014 - 6:34pm
Matthew WilsonI hope the IGDA understands why its a mistake, that's all I want.11/22/2014 - 6:33pm
Andrew EisenHeh, lawyering up would be grossly overracting! And really silly. Well, if what the IGDA did say was not enough for you, try contacting them and letting them know how you feel.11/22/2014 - 6:31pm
Wonderkarpall I want is an apology from the IGDA. nothing fancy, not even addressed to me. Just something that says, "We messed up. We're Sorry" thats it. Not exactly those words except Sorry. If I was overreacting, I'd be lawyering up.11/22/2014 - 6:29pm
Andrew EisenI get it, I just think you're taking it the wrong way and overreacting.11/22/2014 - 6:27pm
Wonderkarpatleast Matthew understands why I am miffed at that list11/22/2014 - 6:26pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - That I agree with. Linking to that list was silly. Hopefully IGDA will more carefully vet the resources it links to make sure they do what they're supposed to.11/22/2014 - 6:25pm
Andrew EisenNope. No insults.11/22/2014 - 6:21pm
WonderkarpAnd here come the insults. Wanna throw some more?11/22/2014 - 6:18pm
Andrew EisenYou're an English major? Wow.11/22/2014 - 6:16pm
Matthew Wilsonno I am glad they did, but I want this talked about so it does not happen again.11/22/2014 - 6:15pm
 

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