Zynga countersues EA over anticompetitive practices

Zynga has returned fire against Electronic Arts’ August lawsuit, with the social gaming company alleging the Battlefield and The Sims publisher has been deliberately anticompetitive. The Los Angeles Times reported last week on Zynga’s claims that EA engaged in “unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements.”

Several of Zynga’s top current and former employees held positions at EA, including Zynga’s recently departed chief marketing officer Jeff Karp and likewise resigned chief operating officer John Schappert. Zynga said EA’s current claims have no merit and alleged that EA threatened to sue if it continued recruiting the company’s employees.

EA responded in the same Los Angeles Times article. Spokesman John Reseburg called the countersuit “predictable subterfuge” intended to divert attention from Zynga’s “persistent plagiarism.”

EA’s initial suit was filed in response to what it said were inexcusable similarities between Zynga’s The Ville and EA’s The Sims Social, both Facebook games. EA took the opportunity to claim the moral high ground, saying the suit is also intended to strike a blow against Zynga’s plagiarism of smaller, less legally prepared studios.

“Zynga would be better served trying to hold onto the shrinking number of employees they’ve got, rather than suing to acquire more,” Reseburg said.

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