Zynga is all about making games that include the phrase “With Friends,” and now it appears that the company wants to keep that trademark to itself.
In the filing, Zynga claims that BWF founders Colin Hodge and Omri Mor “named the product … to leverage and deliberately trade on the fame of Zynga’s WITH FRIENDS family of marks in order to get noticed quickly in the sea of Internet applications.”
Zynga wants BWF to stop using the trademark and pay for unspecified damages. We reached out to Hodge about this and here’s what he had to say:
“We heard through media reports that Zynga has filed a trademark infringement claim with respect to the ‘with friends’ part of our name,” he wrote in an email to GeekWire. “As a technology company, we take intellectual property seriously and will evaluate the case in detail once we receive a copy. Regardless, we continue to be focused on making our users happy, so that they can help each other be happy.”
So what the heck is Bang With Friends? The service offers a Pinterest-like interface showing photos of your Facebook buddies with a “Down to Bang” button attached to each one. You simply make your picks, and if they happen to pick you, too, you’ll both receive a notification.
From there, it’s up to the users to figure out what’s next. The app essentially gets rid of awkward dates, conversations and the like, matching those who just want to get under the covers ASAP.
“We knew Bang With Friends was legit when one of our friends in the incubator came into the office with a huge smile and high-fiving everyone the third day after launching,” Hodge told us back in May.
Hodge launched the app in January with Mor, a University of Washington graduate who grew up in Seattle and spoke at the recent launch of StartupSeattle. Both lived in the Emerald City, but just moved down to San Francisco to the Boost Incubator to work on their separate startups — Hodge with HeardAboutYou and Mor with Ziibra.
BWF, which has more than one million users and set up more than 200,000 “matches,” recently landed a partnership with the To Do List movie and is hiring for four positions. The startup is still trying to get its app back in the App Store after Apple recently removed the app because ofclause 16.1, which does not allow for apps with ”excessively objectionable or crude content.”
Zynga, meanwhile, is struggling. The social gaming kingpin is rapidly losing rank, users and employees as Don Mattrick, the former head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, tries to rejuvenate the company as its new CEO.
Previously on GeekWire: Bang With Friends: Behind the scenes (and under the covers) with this controversial app