Zynga counters suit against Electronic Arts

Things are beginning to get freaky in The Ville (screenshot from video presentation at Zynga press conference). Rafe Needleman/CNET

(CBS/CNET) SAN FRANCISCO - Zynga (ZNGA) is countering Electronic Arts' (EA) allegations of infringement with a compliant over what the social-gaming company characterizes as "anticompetitive and unlawful business practices."

The company filed a three-part response on Friday to EA's lawsuit, which accused Zynga of ripping off EA's game, "The Sims Social."

"Today we responded to EA's claims which we believe have no merit," Zynga General Counsel Reggie Davis said in a statement. "We also filed a counterclaim which addresses actions by EA we believe to be anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements. We look forward to getting back to focusing all our efforts on delighting our players."

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EA did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

Zynga filed its legal response and counterclaim in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The complaints accuse EA of illegally trying to stop Zynga from hiring away EA employees by threatening lawsuits and "intimidating employees." In California, it's against the law for a company to restrict employees from going to work for a competitor.

In its complaints, Zynga denies EA's allegations, saying EA has no claim as the creator of life simulation games. With this, Zynga's response takes the court through a history lesson, citing a game created by Activision called "Little Computer People" as the first game of this genre. Zynga says that EA's "The Sims Social" is similar to Zynga's "YoVille," which was released in 2008, three years before EA's game.

CNET staff writer Donna Tam contributed to this report.

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