Zynga Trying To Patent Virtual Currency

from the copy-everything dept

Back in September, SF Weekly put out an article pointing out that super popular Facebook gamemaker Zynga’s strategy has been to copy anyone else’s popular game, change the name, market the hell out of it and take over the market. The company has been famous for its somewhat underhanded tactics over the years. That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with copying what’s been successful (within the law, obviously) and trying to improve the overall experience. Where things get questionable is when it seeks to stop others from doing the same thing. We’ve noted in the past that Zynga has tried using copyright and trademark law to block others from the market, which is pretty sleazy given its own style of creating games.

Now it looks like it may be looking to do the same with patent law as well. Jarrett Streebin points us to an article highlighting a patent application from Zynga that certainly appears to be trying to patent a rather common form of virtual currencies. You can see the full patent application, which (amusingly) was published the day after that SF Weekly article.

Now, this is only a patent application, so one can hope that the USPTO comes to its senses and rejects it (though, it’s been approving a lot more lately). However, it’s still a pretty questionable move — especially given that two of Zynga’s investors, Brad Feld and Fred Wilson, are some of the most vocal anti-software patent advocates out there. It would be a shame if their money is being used to create more bad patents.

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Companies: zynga

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Comments on “Zynga Trying To Patent Virtual Currency”

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Chris in Utah (profile) says:


More like

from the Do as we say not as we do dept…

Back in my youth the vampires zynga app had a bonus feature of giving you a skill for playing in the poker rooms (Reason to buy in two linked products). This added the benefit community gathering for those of us that loved playing late night poker with the fringe of not only pop culture goths but heathens, wiccans and the like without getting harassed and outright threatened by radical Christians ect because of a profile pic. They just didn’t come into the rue morgue (the server dedicated to the bonus of the vampire zynga game). Without notice they closed the Rue morgue and we started sending in request and petitions to Zynga directly to get it re-opened considering it was the only place this community could play in peace. Not one reply from Zynga to a community reaching in the thousands. Needless I long my respect for Zynga a long time ago.

Just another nail in the coffin.

In a world where like interest are hard to find in the net who in there right mind takes that away from there customers?

Anonymous Coward says:

Foolish Legislators Creating Madness

Zynga has a long-standing business practice of sailing close to the wind, legally speaking. Should our foolish legislators be so silly as to offer such a company a government-granted monopoly privilege, it has to be expected that the company will take advantage of any and all legal advantages so offered. The high officers of the company are charged with maximizing the returns to shareholders. One way they can do that, is by getting hold of monopoly privileges, by whatever means available, then using their monopoly to suppress their commercial competition. So anti-competitive behavior has to be expected. Zynga does not set the legal rules under which it operates. That was done by our foolish legislators. Put the blame where it belongs.

Our legislators could decide to be less foolish, by making government-granted monopoly privileges much harder and more expensive to get hold of. Granting copyright with no fee and no bureaucratic requirements to be fulfilled, constitutes madness. Attaching a monopoly privilege to a patent is also madness. There are other madnesses associated with trademarks, licenses and contracts. A whole new area of madness is being opened up with publicity rights. Vast damage to the economy is being caused by all this madness. The present crop of foolish legislators will never understand what they have done. Vote the bums out.

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