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.

-------

Game Politics, it's time for a mobile version of the site, don't you think?

-------

"WARNING GUARANTEE: This post contains material which a truly free society would neither fear nor suppress."

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Infophile@Mattsworkname: It's more of a case that many media outlets have lost interest in their usual actions. "GamerGate still viciously harassing Zoe Quinn" isn't exactly news. Even if they are. *puts on sea lion hunting gear* Come at me, GG! I dare ya!05/03/2015 - 4:40am
MattsworknameAs much a I have some of the same concerns GG supposibly crusades against, i was really under the impression GG had sorta gone into dormantcy , it had been kinda quiet the last feww months05/02/2015 - 7:42pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bxcc3SM_KA if you guys haven't seen it, john oliver goes after patent trolls.05/02/2015 - 6:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile I dont like the guests, who ever did this is stupid. I can understand not liking GG, but come on.05/02/2015 - 6:17pm
Wonderkarpwell how about that shi.....poop05/02/2015 - 6:07pm
Andrew EisenKotaku caught it. Ran the story an hour ago. http://kotaku.com/gamergate-meetup-evacuated-after-apparent-threat-170176164505/02/2015 - 5:36pm
Wonderkarpevent was treading pretty hardcore on twitter last night. course thats just twitter. I'll agree with you if it does get reported05/02/2015 - 5:25pm
Andrew EisenAwkward wording on my part but "event" was referring to the bomb threat. It's silly to chastise mainstream press for not covering something that happened a mere 12 hours earlier, well after close of business on Friday, at a gathering very few knew about.05/02/2015 - 5:14pm
Wonderkarpthey arent "uppity" over the event not being covered. they are uppity over the harassment/bombthreats not being reported.05/02/2015 - 5:09pm
Andrew EisenWe've known that for quite a while now but I agree, completely cutting the feature is not a good move.05/02/2015 - 3:49pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.vg247.com/2015/05/02/splatoon-multiplayer-online-shooter-wii-u/ excuse my language, but I call bullcrap. enough with this crap Nintendo its stupid.05/02/2015 - 3:27pm
Andrew EisenKarp - Thanks for the heads up. Passed it on to James. I love how the article is all uppity about the mainstream press not covering an event that no one knew about that happened late Friday night after we all went home for the weekend.05/02/2015 - 2:06pm
ZippyDSMleeSo far FOTNS:Kens rage 2 is okay, I really like the retelling of stuff in KR 1 need to get more scrools to see how bad the new scroll equip system is.I think the other system(where you equipped skills and spent karma on leveling) might have been deeper.05/02/2015 - 12:20pm
WonderkarpI know I said I wasnt going to come here anymore. But this needs to be reported on. Peacefull GamerGate in DC Meetup Recieves False Bomb Threats. http://nichegamer.com/2015/05/peaceful-gamergate-in-d-c-meetup-receives-false-bomb-threats/05/02/2015 - 12:10pm
MattsworknameI hope it turns out good, it looks colorfull as all get out and fun to.05/02/2015 - 1:18am
PHX CorpAE: as of my Shout post, It hit nearly £832,000 blasting through 9 stretch goals so far05/01/2015 - 9:46pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/business/2015/05/01/verizon-and-cogent-settle-differences-agree-to-boost-internet-quality/ took them long enough.05/01/2015 - 2:20pm
Andrew Eisenhttps://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playtonic/yooka-laylee-a-3d-platformer-rare-vival05/01/2015 - 2:10pm
Andrew EisenThe Kickstarter for Yooka-Laylee (spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, made by ex-Rare devs) launched to day and blew through the funding goal and several stretch goals.05/01/2015 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightSo mighty Number 9 is coming out just shortly after my birthday. I think that is a pretty sweet birthday present for myself. September 15th. Looking forward to it.05/01/2015 - 1:05pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician