Zynga Settles Trade Secret Case with Former Employee - The UpStream

Zynga Settles Trade Secret Case with Former Employee

posted Sunday Sep 15, 2013 by Scott Ertz

Zynga Settles Trade Secret Case with Former Employee

When former Zynga employee Alan Patmore left the company, he took with him 760 files through Dropbox. The files contained incredibly confidential information, including unannounced game design documents, company policy on how and why certain game mechanics are or are not included into a release, as well as the success and failure of particular new features for CityVille, the game for which Patmore was the general manager.

None of this would pan out for any former employee, no matter the circumstances. Patmore made a bigger mistake, though, in taking those documents to his new position at Zynga's competitor Kixeye. The complaint, filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, claims that the data "could be used to improve a competitor's internal understanding and know-how of core game mechanics and monetization techniques, its execution and ultimately its market standing."

The case has been settled with both Patmore and Kixeye. Patmore said in a statement,

I accept responsibility for making a serious mistake by copying and taking Zynga confidential information when I resigned from Zynga. I understand the consequences of my actions and I sincerely apologize to Zynga and my former colleagues.

Now, this sounds less like the statement of a man that has been ultimately defeated in a major court battle and more like the apology of a tween to his little league team for pitching poorly. Zynga has asked for a dismissal of the case because of unconditional settlement. The details of the settlement are not known. The case had asked for injunctive relief as well as prevention of retention of data for both Patmore and Kixeye, so it can be assumed that both of those demands were met. It must feel good for Zynga to finally get a win.

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