Digital Chocolate, the game company started by Electronic Arts (NSDQ: ERTS) founder Trip Hawkins, is suing Zynga over the title of Zynga’s hit Facebook game Mafia Wars. Digital Chocolate has its own mobile game called Mafia Wars and wants Zynga to stop using that tile.
Zynga filed to trademark the Mafia Wars name last summer, even though Digital Chocolate had allegedly asked Zynga to stop using it. That trademark application seems to have prompted the lawsuit since, according to a report in TG Daily, Digital Chocolate says, “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.”
Zynga’s response: “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.” Digital Chocolate, which started out as a mobile game company, has been playing catch up on the social game front for more than two years now; Zynga’s games, meanwhile, have taken off.