Social games giant claims unfair competition over alleged no-hire agreement

Zynga files countersuit against EA

Zynga has filed a lawsuit against EA citing unfair competition as part of the ongoing legal battle between the two corporate titans.

On August 3rd, EA sued Zynga for copyright violations over similarities between The Sims Social and The Ville, and pointed to what it called a strategy of theft.

Zynga’s lawyers have asked the judge to grant a motion barring EA from threatening litigation or interferring with its hiring practices.

According to Bloomberg, the counter-offensive is based on the claim by Zynga that EA CEO John Riccitiello instructed company lawyers to pursue an agreement which would prevent any future hiring of EA executives by the San Francisco company.

Zynga calls this an "anticompetitive and unlawful scheme” which is in violation of California’s unfair competition law.

“Today we responded to EA’s claims, which we believe have no merit,” said Zynga’s general counsel Reggie Davis.

“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.”

EA was quick in hitting back and suggested the social games giant focus on retaining its staff rather than suing EA.

"This is a subterfuge aimed at diverting attention from Zynga’s persistent plagiarism of other artists and studios,” said EA spokesman John Reseburg.

“Zynga would be better served trying to hold onto the shrinking number of employees they’ve got, rather than suing to acquire more.”

The legal troubles are indeed ill-timed for Zynga, and if the company could do anything to divert attention from its poor stock performance, it would be well advised to take action.

What effect this will have on the giant of social gaming is in the long run a mystery, but share prices were up to $3.22 at close on Friday.

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