Zynga on Friday returned fire in a battle with Electronic Arts, accusing the videogame veteran of using unlawful tactics to squash competition from the newcomer which rose to stardom via Facebook.
In a response to a suit filed by EA in a US federal court in San Francisco, Zynga rejected claims it illegally copied a "Sims" title and charged the chief of EA was "on the warpath" after Zynga poached some of its workers.
"Today we responded to EA's claims which we believe have no merit," Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis said in a release.
Davis said Zynga also filed a counterclaim addressing "anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements."
"This is a subterfuge aimed at diverting attention from Zynga's persistent plagiarism of other artists and studios," EA spokesman John Reseburg said in response to an AFP inquiry.
"Zynga would be better served trying to hold onto the shrinking number of employees they've got, rather than suing to acquire more."
EA last month filed suit claiming Zynga's game "The Ville" illegally copied the life simulator "The Sims Social."
"The core legal issue is our belief that Zynga infringed copyrights to our game, The Sims Social," said Lucy Bradshaw, general manager of EA's Maxis label.
The Sims Social is among the life-simulation games from Silicon Valley-based EA.
The Ville, one of the top games played on Facebook, has been described as "very similar" to The Sims Social but "not a complete clone" by a reviewer at the website Inside Social Games.
"The truth is that despite years of trying to compete, and spending more than a billion dollars on acquisitions, EA has not been able to successfully compete in the social gaming space and was losing talent, particularly to social gaming leader Zynga," the social games company said in its filing.
"EA sought, by threat of objectively and subjectively baseless sham litigation, what it could never lawfully obtain from Zynga—a no-hire agreement that would bar Zynga's hiring of EA employees."
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