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Digital Chocolate Sues Zynga Over Mafia Wars Name

by Matt Helgeson on Aug 25, 2010 at 01:30 PM

Zynga's Mafia Wars was one of the first real social gaming powerhouses (at least until Farmville hit). However, EA founder Trip Hawkins and his social and casual game company Digital Chocolate claims to have published a game called Mafia Wars all the way back in 2004, according to a trademark infringement lawsuit filed today.

Digital Chocolate claims to have sent a letter in 2009 to Zynga demanding that they cease use of the name, but that the Zynga still proceeded to file a claim on the name at the U.S. Patent Trademark Office.

In an official statement, Digital Chocolate states that Zynga has "falsely claimed to the public, the United States Patent Office and the courts that it 'coined' the Mafia Wars mark and owns superior rights to the mark." The company goes on to say, "Digital Chocolate wants Zynga enjoined from using the Mafia Wars name, and ordered to deliver up all Mafia Wars products and "engage in corrective advertising" costing twice what Zynga spent promoting Mafia Wars."

In another interesting wrinkle to the dispute, this case has pitted to old school Electronic Arts veterans against one another -- the aforementioned Trip Hawkins and Zynga board member Bing Gordon, who served as EA's CCO for a decade.