If anyone is taking the Bang With Friends app seriously, it's Zynga. The San Francisco-based online gaming company is suing Bang With Friends, the app that helps Facebook friends discover mutual sexual interest, claiming it's ripping off its "With Friends" trademark.
Bang With Friends, a Delaware corporation, created its Internet app "that is used to connect people for casual sex," Zynga says in its lawsuit. Zynga says that the drunk guys who invented the sex app intentionally capitalized on the popularity of Words With Friends, itself a ripoff of Scrabble, to give their new product a little more sex appeal.
Here's what Zynga has to say:
"Based on public reports, the app was created by three twenty-something men over the course of a night and with the help of 'a lot of Red Bull and vodka.' When it came to naming, they did not select from the universe of available unique names. Upon information and belief, they instead named the product 'Bang With Friends' — incorporating Zynga's With Friends mark in its entirety — to leverage and deliberately trade on the fame of Zynga's With Friends family of marks in order to get noticed quickly in the sea of Internet applications."
Apparently, Zynga — which created Words With Friends, Scramble With Friends (sounds kinky?), Hanging With Friends, Chess With Friends, Matching With Friends, Gems With Friends, and Running With Friends — believes it has a monopoly on anything you do with your friends online.
"This is a case about illegal free riding on recognized and valuable intellectual property rights. The 'With Friends' brand is strong and has been associated with one company — Zynga," according to the complaint.
Zynga claims the piggybacking worked: "Forbes.com even went so far as to describe the 'Bang With Friends' app as 'like "Words With Friends," without the letter tiles and clothes.'"
Zynga is asking for an injunction and punitive damages for trademark violations and unfair competition.
Maybe Zynga is a little worried that banging your friends will be more fun than playing chess with your friends? Erin Sherbert