Game of War dev Machine Zone sues Kabam over trade secrets

It all started at a Casual Connect party in a conversation between rivals, but it may well end in a courtroom -- over the alleged leak of a very significant document.

Machine Zone (developer of mobile hit Game of War) is suing Kabam over an alleged leak of trade secrets -- including confidential data about its financials, an upcoming game, and even its proprietary analytics.

The document that contained the information was prepared for potential investors into the company, which is reportedly seeking a new round of funding.

The conflict began during the recent Casual Connect conference in San Francisco; at a post-show party at the Clift Hotel, Machine Zone CEO Gabe Leydon and Kabam's Daniel Wiggins got into a set-to about Machine Zone's performance.

Wiggins then reportedly revealed he'd seen the highly confidential document -- and according to Machine Zone's court filing, he recited confidential details from the document back to Leydon.

"The document was clearly marked as confidential and contained business information that was obviously sensitive and never intended for Kabam," Machine Zone's filing with the California Superior Court reads.

"Machine Zone is a private company operating in a highly competitive, fast-moving industry. Disclosure of that document to Kabam has already caused it harm and Machine Zone is now at risk of suffering further, irreparable harm if Kabam is permitted to continue to possess this information."

For his part, in his declaration to the court, Wiggins says that the exchange "gradually became very heated" and ultimately culminated in shouting and a declaration from Leydon that he would sue; Wiggins says that he pretended to have seen the document in question -- but maintains "I have never seen or had possession" of it.

Kabam's senior vice president of corporate communications, Steve Swasey, takes a flippant tone in VentureBeat's story on the altercation, comparing the scene to a bit from HBO's Silicon Valley.

"Our employee said something he shouldn’t have said. It’s embarrassing. The fact is there is no document. There is nothing to this. The fact this has gone this far is ludicrous. It’s preposterous. It’s tantamount to what HBO is making a great comedy on."

Jason Park, a VP at San Francisco-based outsourcer Concept Art House who was at the party and witnessed the conversation, declared in a statement to the court that Wiggins told Leydon sensitive information (the information itself is redacted in the court document.) He also said that Leydon was "extremely upset by this conversation."

Machine Zone is seeking damages -- based either on damage done to Machine Zone's or advantage Kabam gains from the alleged possession of the documents, whichever is greater -- and attorney's fees.

For more juicy details on the altercation and the case, VentureBeat has you covered.

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