Kixeye CEO slams Zynga as corporate theft lawsuit moves forward

Kixeye chief executive Will Harbin lashed out at social-gaming rival Zynga yesterday, as a San Francisco judge granted the latter company's request to continue with its lawsuit against a former employee who took confidential documents with him when he left Zynga for Kixeye in August, reports All Things D.

A Kixeye spokesperson previously said the company "has nothing to do with the suit," but Harbin released a statement yesterday accusing Zynga of resorting to litigation as senior staffers continue to leave and its share price keeps dropping. He also said his company would have no interest in using information about Zynga games to copy them, since Kixeye makes different kinds of social games. Here's Harbin's full statement:

Zynga is burning to the ground and bleeding top talent and instead of trying to fix the problems — better work environment and better products — they are resorting to the only profit center that has ever really worked for them: their legal department. It is simply another case of Zynga vindictively persecuting a former employee as an individual. Given their financial situation it all feels pretty desperate. Our games have little in common with the ones that Zynga is known for. We make synchronous, combat strategy games. They make asynchronous cow clicking games. We have 2 of the top 7 highest grossing games on Facebook. Why on earth would we want to emulate a business that has seen a [75 percent] decline in share price since their debut? According to their S1 their games average $.06 ARPDAU [average revenue per daily active user]. Our games generate up to 20x that. You do the math.

Zynga filed suit against Alan Patmore, former general manager of the company's CityVille game, last week, accusing Patmore of backing up 763 Zynga documents and bringing them to Kixeye. According to Zynga's lawsuit, the documents contain confidential information about Zynga and its business plans, including information about more than 10 unreleased games.

Along with the lawsuit, Zynga filed a temporary restraining order against Patmore to prevent him from disclosing the data. Yesterday, a San Francisco Superior Court judge granted Zynga's request to move forward with its investigation, so the company will be able to begin a deposition with Patmore, as well as examine his computer at Kixeye, his personal devices and his Dropbox account.

According to Jay Monahan, deputy general counsel for Zynga, "Patmore does not dispute that he took 763 files from Zynga, which contained confidential game designs from teams around the company, and that he transferred those files to his computer at Kixeye where he's currently the VP of Product. We are pleased with the judge's decision and will continue to work to protect the ideas and assets of our employees."

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