Digital Chocolate sues Zynga over Mafia Wars

Katie Gatto · August 25, 2010 · Short URL:

Claims the name game is intentional

(Updated with Zynga comment)

Zynga, the maker of one of the most popular Facebook games,Mafia Wars is being sued by Digital Chocolate, a mobile game company.

The court documents reveal that, Digital Chocolate is suing Zynga because it "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."

Digital Chocotae claims that it notified Zynga about the illegal use of the name Mafia Wars last year. It also claim that Zynga sent a letter stating that they would stop using the name. Obviously, they continued on with the name Mafia Wars, and created a multi-million dollar advertising  campaign around it, making the Mafia Wars game one of the most well known on the Facebook platform. Digital Chocolate is asking a California Northern District Court of Santa Clara judge to prevent them from using the name, and to run a corrective ad campaign of a higher cost then their initial ad campaign.

Zynga is holding its ground and plans to go to battle if it has to.

"We are surprised and disappointed by Digital Chocolate's lawsuit. The timing of the action appears to be opportunistic, and we plan to defend ourselves vigorously," a Zynga spokesperson told us.

The original Mafia Wars game, put out my Digital Chocolate, was originally for cell phones, and is described on their site as" swiftly find yourself working for one of New York’s Mafia Families, where your main ambition is to ascend in the ranks. Do you have the guts to show Joe the way and ultimately lead him to become “The Don”?" and Zynga describes their game simply as," Start a crime family. Run your mob businesses. Then take over the world."

Digital Chocolate was available for comment at the time of publication.

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit