Zynga has responded to the lawsuit filed by EA last month that claimed that the former's social title The Ville was "in clear violation" of copyright laws.
Rather than roll over and admit defeat, Zynga has issued a three-part response in which the company not only refutes the allegations that it copied EA's The Sims Social, but also accuses EA of entering into an "unlawful scheme to stop Zynga from hiring its employees".
Zynga's general counsel Reggie Davis had this to say:
"Today we responded to EA's claims which we believe have no merit. We also filed a counterclaim which addresses actions by EA we believe to be anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements."
Chicken vs egg
While the first part of Zynga's response is concerned with striking elements of EA's lawsuit from the record, the second document moves for a jury trial. In this document, Zynga asserts that when it comes to life simulations, "EA did not invent the genre".
Furthermore, "Zynga's YoVille, released in 2008 - three years before The Sims Social - was the first commercially viable life simulation game on Facebook."
Citing YoVille's options to let players customise their virtual avatars' hair, skin colour, clothing, and surroundings, Zynga's lawyers go on to claim that "It was Zynga - not EA - which first brought the concept to Facebook."
I know you are, but what am I?
In part three of the response, a.k.a. Zynga's counterclaim, the social gaming giant accuses EA of attempting to "restrain the mobility of EA employees" by preventing Zynga from hiring them.
"EA explicitly communicated to Zynga that, although Zynga's past hiring was lawful, EA's chief executive officer John Riccitiello was 'on the war path', 'incensed', and 'heated' and intent on stopping Zynga's future hiring of EA employees", Zynga states in the countersuit.
"Despite years of trying to compete, and spending more than a billion dollars on acquisitions, EA has not been able to successfully compete in the social gaming space."
Speaking on behalf of EA, John Reseburg later told Joystiq: "This is a predictable subterfuge aimed at diverting attention from Zynga's persistent plagiarism of other artists and studios."