Zynga has a knack for identifying successful social games and drawing "aggressive inspiration" from them. Over the past few years they have started taking flak for their ability to produce near clones of popular games with the regularity of a post-buffet bowel movement.
The company appears to have evolved into the titanic digital equivalent of a Venus Flytrap, one that waits for a new and "interesting" social game and puts their own "little" twist on it. Typically they have been able to avoid legal ramifications by virtue of capital, their pockets are deep enough that they can easily offer to settle for significant sums of money. The smaller development companies can either take the settlement or risk costly legal proceedings that could take months or years.
It would seem that they are up to their old tricks again, however this time they dun goof'd. This time they are tangling with a titan, one with enough capital and legal firepower to follow through with a full fledged copyright lawsuit. On August 3rd, EA's crack team of lawyers filed a 36 page Complaint of Copyright Infringement that features language so aggressively worded that it borders on defamation. The legal document sites every instance of Zynga's re-appropriation of other company's Intellectual Property in order to demonstrate that this is not an anomaly, but rather a pattern of behavior.
I never thought that I would see the day when EA (recently named The Consumerist's Worst Company) would be perceived as the champion of the underdog, unfortunately they are not the protectors of the weak and defenseless. It would be wonderful to write that EA is honorably facing down Zynga in order to topple an industry monster, it would be a boldfaced lie. EA is protecting their own property and what is the only original and unique title that EA still produces. These days every company has their own line of familiar and non-threatening games, but The Sims remains unique. Somehow The Sims has remained free of the type of recreation that plagues the industry and I imagine that is why EA wants to protect the sanctity of this particular piece of property. Hell this might not even see a court. As much as onlookers hope EA goes for the jugular, this legal battle probably won't resemble the fist fight from They Live. Zynga could easily pay a massive settlement and alter enough of the game to placate EA.
But EA has more than enough ammunition to put Zynga down Old Yeller style, and I imagine that they will use everything that they have.
From the similarities in personality types.....
.....to the showering animation.....
...to the need to poop.
Regardless of what happens, it should be an interesting case. If you want to read the entire complaint (Which I recommend as it is quite interesting), you can find it below.
Note: Jairus is not a lawyer, but he does frequently wear suspenders.