“Mafia Wars” Trademark Infringement Battle

By Joseph Mandour on September 1, 2011

target_aim-thumb-200x133-33997San Diego, CA – In August 2010 Digital Chocolate filed a complaint against Zynga alleging trademark infringement over the Mafia Wars brand.

Very recently the case was settled out of court but details regarding damages and terms have yet to be disclosed to the public. There have not been any changes made to the Mafia Wars game and it still reflects Zynga as the creator so there may be some sort of phase-out period in place.

According to the original complaint, in 2004 Digital Chocolate released a Mafia Wars mobile game followed by three sequels up to 2009. Zynga, the social gaming company from San Francisco, wasn’t founded until 2007 and didn’t release its version of Mafia Wars until 2008. In 2009, Digital Chocolate sent Zynga a cease and desist letter, demanding that it stop using the Mafia Wars trademark which then led to the lawsuit. In addition to suing for trademark infringement, Digital Chocolate also charged Zynga with unfair competition, false designation of origin and cyber-squatting.

Considering both companies are in the same industry, we’re not sure how Zynga couldn’t have known of the prior existing Mafia Wars game. It may be that Zynga has a shoot first ask questionns later type of approach to intellectual property because this lawsuit is just one of many that Zynga has been juggling recently. In January, it was also sued by Walker Digital for patent infringement over its Farmville game.

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