NEW YORK (AP) — Electronic Arts says it has sued online game maker Zynga because its new game “The Ville” infringes its own game, “The Sims Social.”

Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. said Friday that “The Ville” is “unmistakable” in its similarity to “The Sims Social,” which launched more than a year earlier. EA says the games are “largely indistinguishable” to a casual observer.

The games are both played on Facebook. Players create characters who live, work and interact with each other in virtual neighborhoods.

In response, Zynga says that EA doesn’t understand copyright principles, and that it plans to defend its rights.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

This is not the first time Zynga has been accused of copying video game titles. For example its mega-hit “Farmville” was said to be a copy of another title called “Farm Town.”

Much of Zynga’s practices often involved copying competitor’s titles.

According to SF Weekly, Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga often told employees that he didn’t want innovation for Zynga titles, and that “You’re not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.”

Zynga has been struggling for the past few months.  Its stock which was poised to dazzle Wall Street has been fizzling on the NASDAQ.  Also a number of Zynga executives, including Pinkus are under investigation for insider trading.

EA is based in Redwood City, Calif., while Zynga Inc. is based in San Francisco.  Both Zynga and Electronic Arts have offices in Austin, Tx.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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