|Mon Nov 22 2010 21:23:28|
Zynga Engages in Trademark Wars on eBay
By: Ina Steiner
An eBay seller who had listed a Zynga "Mafia Wars" Tshirt on eBay received a VeRO complaint last week. The email notice from eBay states, "Your item was removed because of a request we received from Zynga Game Network, Inc., a member of our Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO), asking us to remove the item for: Item(s) is a counterfeit product which infringes the trademark owner's rights."
The seller said he had acquired the authentic shirt from a Zynga employee at a giveaway in Los Angeles, and promised to fight the takedown notice.
Zynga is no Tiffany - it's not even a clothing designer. It publishes the popular Facebook games Farmville and Mafia Wars. The company itself is embroiled in a trademark dispute - rival Digital Chocolate sued Zynga for alleged trademark infringement over Mafia Wars, having published a game of the same title in 2004.
In a letter to Zynga's Jay Monahan, the seller said that in return for removing the claim on his eBay account, he would agree to not list any Zynga product in the future on eBay, and wrote, "I'm giving you 48 hours to contact eBay and retract your takedown notice."
Otherwise, he wrote, he would "file suit in a court of competent jurisdiction seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages and equitable relief in the form of an injunction ordering you to retract your takedown notice."
The name Jay Monahan, Zynga's Deputy General Counsel, may sound familiar to readers - he headed Intellectual Property at eBay for over 8 years. He is no novice to legal disputes on both sides of the Intellectual Property issue, defending eBay against lawsuits such as MercExchange's patent dispute and suing sites such as PerfumeBay for trademark infringement.