Zynga

In another twist to the ongoing battle between game makers, Kixeye and Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), the former filed a cross-complaint against Zynga in the Superior Court of California. The move from the niche game maker comes in response to an earlier suit, filed by Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) against both Kixeye and one of its employees who formerly worked on Zynga’s CityVille game.

“We will fight to our last breath to keep this predatory company from accessing our confidential information and best practices,” Kixeye CEO Will Harbin said in a statement. “We intend to defend ourselves from Zynga’s legal bullying for as long as it takes to reveal the truth — that Kixeye played no part in this”.

The legal tussle, started when Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) alleged its former general manager on CityVille Alan Patmore, who left the game maker in August to join Kixeye as vice president of product, for stealing 763 files including confidential game designs, and brought them to Kixeye. Taking the suit a step further, Zynga named Kixeye as a defendant in the lawsuit, claiming Kixeye was aware that Patmore was in possession of the files and asked to see them.

In its counter claim, Kixeye clarified it had no such intentions as the two companies work on totally different products. “In short, Kixeye is a smaller company that makes games specifically designed to appeal to a niche market, while Zynga is a large company that makes games targeted at obtaining mass appeal,” the complaint says. “Comparing Kixeye’s games to Zynga’s games is like comparing a Ducati racing motorcycle to a minivan”.

Kixeye, in its cross-complaint, is demanding the court to stop Zynga from interfering in its recruiting practices and business relations, plus attorney fees and costs. “We believe Zynga is manipulating the legal process and fabricating claims against Kixeye to access our trade secrets,” Harbin said in his statement. “We will not stand for it. This matter was shameful enough when it was focused on bleeding one of their former employees. When they broadened this frivolous claim to include Kixeye, they showed their hand”.

In October, when the court awarded Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) a temporary restraining order, Patmore did admit to taking the documents. Also, in its cross-complaint, Kixeye revealed that Patmore did share two documents with the gaming company, but they were in no way Zynga’s trade secrets or proprietary information.

Kixeye’s reply and cross-complaint [via BusinessInsider]:

Kixeye’s Cross-Complaint Against Zynga