News Trademarks Video Games

Zynga files for trademark on the word “Ville” in Europe

Zynga ville

On March 1, 2011, Zynga filed for a trademark on the word: ville.  The trademark was filed with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the official trade marks and designs office of the European Union. 

Zynga’s trademark representative is Rouse, a specialist in international IP business whose client list ranges from Honeywell and BP to Christian Dior and Starbucks Coffee.

Zynga IP

Could this be Zynga’s response to a recent lawsuit? 

Or is the company doing whatever it takes to protect its “ville” line up of games on Facebook?

In January, TechDirt broke the story that the social network gaming developer, sent a cease and desist letter to a West Virginia company that is developing a game named Blingville for Facebook, alleging trademark infringement for its use of the word “ville”.  The letter resulted in Blingville filing a lawsuit against Zynga. 

While Zynga doesn’t own the trademark on “ville” and hasn’t filed one yet with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, not filing for a trademark in the U.S. first is not necessarily uncommon, as seen with its trademark filing for Rewardville

Since I broke that story about Zynga filing for the Rewardville trademark which appeared on TechCrunch back in January, I’ve been checking back regularly with OHIM to see if another application was filed.  And this past week, it was.

You can take a look below at the “ville” trademark application from the OHIM website.
  Ville trademark filed by Zynga
Zynga Inc Ville Trademark

Goods and Services

According to the application filed, Zynga is seeking three different classifications in “goods and services”, including for “online computer and electronic games”.

9: Scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, checking (supervision), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; automatic vending machines and mechanisms for coin-operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment and computers; fire-extinguishing apparatus; computer game software; video game programs; computer software platforms for social networking; interactive video game programs; downloadable electronic game programs and computer software platforms for social networking that may be accessed via the Internet, computers and wireless devices; computer software to enable uploading, posting, showing, displaying, tagging, blogging, sharing or otherwise providing electronic media or information in the fields of virtual communities, electronic gaming, entertainment, and general interest via the Internet or other communications networks with third parties; magnetic coded gift cards.

25: Clothing, footwear and headgear; clothing, namely, t-shirts, sweatshirts, socks, jackets, button down shirts, polo shirts, dresses, skirts, jeans, shorts, sweatpants, neckties, aprons, belts, gloves, jerseys and headwear.

41: Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities; entertainment services, namely, providing online computer and electronic games, enhancements within online computer and electronic games, and game applications within online computer and electronic games; providing online reviews of computer games and providing of information relating to computer games; providing an Internet website portal in the field of computer games and gaming; entertainment services, namely, providing virtual environments in which users can interact through social games for recreational, leisure or entertainment purposes.

How will it play out?

How will Zynga’s attempt at trademarking the word “ville” play out for its line up of current and future “ville” properties?

Will it result in Blingville losing its name?

Will it result in other companies losing their names? 

No one will likely know anytime soon, but news of the trademark is sure to create some bad publicity for Zynga.  In February, the company settled a lawsuit filed by Digital Chocolate over the use of “Mafia Wars”.

“Though the companies settled the lawsuit, neither disclosed terms for the settlement, according to The Recorder. The full list of charges against Zynga included federal/common law trademark infringement, federal/state/common law unfair competition, false designation of origin, and cyber-squatting”, wrote Eric Caoili for Gamasutra.

While Zynga does own the domain, which it re-directs to its homepage, the company doesn’t own  The domain name is currently registered to the domain company Marchex.

Discussion: The Inquisitr, Techmeme, TechDirt, Wired, News, Business Insider, Silicon Republic, CNET, Gamertell, and Inside Social Games.

Disputes News Video Games WIPO

Another Zynga domain name goes live —


The last time I wrote about Zynga and domain names, the company had filed disputes over the domains and with WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization.  Before that, the company had sent a cease & desist letter to the developers of Blingville, which resulted in Blingville responding with a lawsuit. 

While these disputes have yet to be resolved, Zynga is making more headlines over the domain name this week — a name that helped get this blog a mention in TechCrunch.

Zynga’s RewardVille Now Available: Everything you need to know

So, what’s the news this week on Rewardville?

Brandy Shaul, a writer for, announced yesterday that Rewardville is now available

“…we told you there was a way to force RewardVille to spawn on your Facebook account, but what if you didn’t have any friends that had posted a link to their prizes that would allow you to join Zynga’s rewards program? FarmVillePro has discovered that there is a single, universal, link that you can click on the activate the program on your account, and we can confirm that it does indeed work,” writes Brandy.

The story includes the link to get Rewardville when you connect through Facebook, which continues to work.

If you’re a fan of Zynga’s Facebook games, there’s no shortage of tips, tricks and information over at

Here’s a look at a Rewardville video produced by Zynga that sprang up online yesterday.

News Trademarks Video Games

Fusible domain blog gets mentioned in TechCrunch; other major news sites and technology blogs

Rewardville Beta by Zynga

Early this morning, I broke a story about the Beta launch of Zynga’s Rewardville after I noticed that the web address was resolving to an actual web site and not to a GoDaddy Parked page.  This followed a week of speculation of what Zynga might have planned for the domain name. 

Just over a week ago, another domain blogger Elliot Silver first pondered whether Zynga purchased the name, then I was able to confirm the social gaming company applied for a trademark in Europe shortly thereafter.

When I posted my story this morning, I tipped off several news sites and technology blogs.

Robin Wauters was the first to write me back after he posted the story on TechCrunch, giving and Elliot Silver credit for ultimately uncovering the trail to Zynga.  A big thanks to Robin Wauters, and other news sites who credited their stories. 

Not all technology blogs and news sites like to attribute their stories

Mashable ran their story hours later after I submitted my news tip on their website early this morning through their Contact Form and via Twitter.  And of course, no credit back to Fusible or even TechCrunch who was the first major news site to report it.  In fact, all Mashable did was post the same statement that Zynga’s PR group sent to me and other blogs hours after the story had broke – then Mashable tried to call the story their own by not crediting any other news source.

It’s this kind of blogging or news reporting that’s difficult to see, but occurs at a disappointing rate among some of the more mainstream bloggers and news sites — a point brought up by another domain blogger over at Domain Gang in a story titled: We already told you so!

While the post is short, the message is loud.  As DomainGang writes bluntly: “Twice in recent days so-called “mainstream blogs” reiterate content we already broke the news for – sometimes with a lapse of one or more weeks”.

I might not always see eye-to-eye with DomainGang who offer a different spin on domain blogging with a dash of humor, but on this matter I most definitely do.  It’s not unusual to see breaking stories in the domain industry appear on the popular domain news aggregator over and over and over – with absolutely no mention or credit to the original blogger who broke the story.

As DomainGang simply says: “This comes as no surprise because the focus these days seems to be the regurgitation of news ad nauseam.”

Sure, it’s great to hear opinions by other bloggers, but it’s also good to see credit given to the source.

News Video Games

Breaking: No longer speculation, Zynga launches Rewardville Beta

Zynga Rewardville

You read it here first.  After days of speculation as to what Zynga’s plans were for the domain name and even a mention on AOL’s for confirming the rumor, Zynga minutes ago unveiled its Beta site for Rewardville.

Although no official announcements have been made, Zynga started displaying a web page this morning for its newest venture, which will be rolled out over the next few weeks according to a message posted on the website.

zPoints and RewardVille FAQ

Information made available on the Zynga customer help site explains more how Rewardville will work.  According to the website,, Rewardville will involve zCoins and zPoints.

What are zPoints?

Zynga writes: zPoints are points you earn for playing Zynga games. You can earn a maximum of 80 points per game per day, with a maximum of 300 points across the entire Zynga network each day. As you earn points you increase your zLevel and earn zCoins. Currently, you can earn zPoints for playing the following games: FarmVille, FrontierVille, Mafia Wars, Treasure Isle, Zynga Poker

What are zCoins?

“zCoins are awarded when your zLevel increases. zCoins are redeemed in RewardVille for in-game items.”

How do I sign up for zPoints?

“You automatically earn zPoints for playing all Zynga games. To redeem zCoins in RewardVille, you must register for a Zynga account.”

News on the launch of Rewardville

Although Zynga hasn’t announced the launch on its own blog or news section and nothing has appeared in the news, expect the big launch of Rewardville to be put out through Facebook to Zynga users in the coming weeks. 

I’ve informed several technology blogs and news sites about the launch of Rewardville Beta, and am hoping that any articles written will attribute the information in their stories to the correct source.

Updated 4:45PM EST:  Thanks to the following news sites for mentioning this story today: TechCrunch, News, Business Insider, Inside Social Games, and Gamezebo

Robin Wauters, was the first in fact, to write me in the wee hours of the morning after I posted my story to let me know the TechCrunch story was online with credit back to

I also received a statement from Zynga this afternoon while I was away from the computer, hours after my story went online.

“As a company focused on innovation we’re constantly testing new products and features.  When experimenting with new products we take the feedback we receive and apply it to deliver the best possible user experience.  We look forward to hearing how our users like RewardVille.”  -Zynga”

News Trademarks Video Games

Zynga likes to buy unlikely domain names, and social gaming is expected to be a billion-dollar business in 2011

Warstorm,,,,  As reported by Leena Rao of TechCrunch, social gaming is expected to be a billion-dollar business this year.  And those businesses that are getting into the social gaming market will be looking for domain names. 

As they did in 2010 and previous years, social gaming market leader Zynga will likely be looking for more domain names to use for their up-and-coming games.

The company has bought thousands of dollars’ worth of domain names on the aftermarket, including the name for its best performing game on Facebook, which it paid $38,225 for in June 2010 at Moniker.   Cityville is expected to top 100 million monthly active users on Facebook at any moment.

Most recently, the company paid  $4,500 for the domain name at Sedo, which is rumored that it will be used for its virtual rewards system.   Though Zynga hasn’t publicly confirmed plans for a Rewardville application, the company filed for a trademark in  Europe as reported here on

But and weren’t the only publicly reported domain name purchases by Zynga on the aftermarket.

Zynga purchased in 2009 on Sedo GreatDomains for €23,500.00 (or about $33,100).  Mafia Wars has gone on to be one of the top Facebook games, with nearly 3 million daily active users according to the latest Appdata metrics

The company also owns  Though Zynga didn’t directly buy the domain name, it did buy the company Challenge Games that acquired the domain on Sedo in 2008 for $9,450.

But one of the best domain deals for what is now a Zynga-owned game, is that of, which was purchased for a measly $400 on Sedo in April 2008, shortly before Zynga purchased the Facebook game in July.

With the social gaming market looking to make history in 2011, so might sales of domain names that end up as Facebook games.  Are you holding a winning lottery ticket?