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Spotlight on Zynga

Zynga is back in the news this month, after the Court of Appeal in London overturned parts of a decision handed down by the High Court last year in the company’s dispute with Mattel over trade mark rights

The case is interesting in itself: the trial in 2013 lasted 14 days over the course of two months, after the judge sent Mattel away to look for more evidence, telling them that as successful, large US corporations “resources were not and are not an issue”. The subsequent Court of Appeal ruling is likely to make uncomfortable ruling for Mr Justice Peter Smith.

But the dispute also highlights the value of trade marks to the gaming industry. As gaming has evolved from PCs and consoles to social media and mobile platforms, consumers are increasingly guided by the names of games and their icons in online app stores when they decide what to download.

You can read more about IP rights in the rapidly evolving gaming industry in a feature on Zynga in this month’s issue of Managing IP. The article features an interview with Renee Lawson, a former partner of Morgan Lewis who now heads up the company’s IP legal team. She talked to me in the company’s San Francisco HQ about making the transition from law firm partnership to tech start-up, joining a company with a reputation for litigation, and what she has learnt about cross-border disputes. Subscribers and free triallists can read the article here.

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