Stephen S. Wu-- SL: Legal Writer, swu@ckwlaw.com, (650) 917-8045, 166 Main Street, Los Altos, CA 94022

Blingville v. Zynga in Discovery

I wrote last year here and here about Blingville, LLC filing and pursuing a preemptive suit against Zynga in the Northern District of West Virginia. In its suit, Blingville contends that its use of the mark BLINGVILLE for a game does not violate Zynga’s trademark rights. A review of the docket this year shows that the parties are in discovery seeking written information from each other, and Zynga apparently obtained the testimony of a representative of Blingville in a deposition.
During this pretrial phase of the case, a party can request that the other party provide documents or electronically stored information that fall into certain categories. A party can also ask that the other side provide answers to written questions. A party can also ask that the other side admit certain facts. Finally, a party can take the testimony of an individual witness or the representative of a business under oath.

Specifically, the
docket in this case shows that the parties lately have been using all of these mechanisms to gather information. Here is a copy of Zynga’s notice of deposition, seeking the testimony of a representative of Blingville. Blingville sent Zynga questions to be answered, Zynga asked for documents and admissions from Blingville, and Zynga took Blingville’s deposition.

The parties also entered into a
Stipulated Protective Order. The purpose for the order is to protect certain confidential information being exchanged by the parties in discovery. The order requires the parties to maintain the confidentiality of information designated as confidential under the protective order.

All of this exchanging of information is for the purpose of the parties preparing for trial. They can use the documents and electronically stored information as exhibits as trial. Depositions can elicit admissions or nail down the testimony of a witness. Any inconsistent statements later in trial can be pointed out to the jury. And information provided may contain useful admissions.

I will continue to watch this case to observe further developments. In particular, I will be interested in seeing whether the parties seek a summary judgment - judgment without the need for a trial. It may be that after sufficient discovery, one side or the other can point out that its opponent has insufficient evidence to support its claims. Or there may be legal issues that the judge can decide and narrow the scope of what has to be resolved at trial.
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