Zynga MyFarm source code row heading to courts

Zynga MyFarm source code row heading to courts
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

February 17th 2012 at 11:03AM

Farmville developer alleged to have broken implied contract with SocialApps

Zynga has lost its motion to dismiss a case brought by SocialApps over illegal use of source code from its MyFarm title.

SocialApps is suing the Farmville developer over accusations that it violated a contract making use of confidential source code from its own farming game on Facebook, released six month’s before Zynga’s title.

As Law.com reports, after a motion by the social games giant to dismiss the case, a California federal district judge sided with the MyFarm developer, allowing the lawsuit to go forward.

SocialApps claims that in May 2009, the two companies entered into a letter of agreement and started to share due diligence material.

Shortly after, it alleges that Zynga cut contact with the developer and used the source code for MyFarm to create FarmVille.

Whilst the judge dismissed claims of theft of trade secrets relating to images and features from the SocialApps title, accusations of breach of implied contract, confidence and implied covenant related to the MyFarm source code were held up.

“The allegations here are sufficient to allege conduct beyond a mere breach of the terms of the agreement which would support a claim for tort damages,” wrote Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers.

With the rampant success of Farmville on Facebook, SocialApps counsel Graham LippSmith said that whilst this decision does not affect the actual lawsuit, if the company was to win its case, damages awarded could be “astronomical”.