Zynga has emerged triumphant in a patent infringement case in Austin, Texas, reports Reuters. The case, raised by gambling technology company IGT, concerned whether or not Zynga’s slot machine games infringed on its intellectual property rights.
The patent at the heart of the case is a piece of technology which allows mobile games to continue operating despite any interruptions in communication, such as network errors. Not only did the jury find that Zynga was acting in good faith, but that IGT’s patent was invalid.
Zynga spokesperson Alan Lewis commented that Zynga is “pleased that the jury came to the right conclusion,” and that IGT’s accusations are “entirely without merit”. A spokesperson for IGT declined to comment.
The case has been in progress since 2021, with IGT claiming that it developed the technology for its own portfolio of casino games, and that Zynga titles such as Game of Thrones Slots Casino and Hit it Rich were using the technology without its consent.
The claim also involved three related patents, which have been split off into an individual case which has been paused due to the U.S. Patent Office declaring the claim invalid.
While patents are a valid method of protecting intellectual property rights, the fact remains that they can be used in bad faith. With many mobile games - especially live service games - reliant on connectivity, it therefore seems likely that many of the biggest game makers in the space will see the value of technology that allows for a seamless gameplay experience.
It’s unclear on what grounds the jury declared IGT’s patent invalid, but it’s possible that, given how many companies would likely be working on similar tools, the court found that allowing IGT’s patent to stand would lead to other companies being sued for developing similar technology.
We listed Zynga parent company Take-Two Interactive as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2023.