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.