Trademark Battle Over ‘Mafia Wars’

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Online game developer Digital Chocolate claims rival Zynga Game Network has been producing the Facebook game “Mafia Wars” in violation of trademark, and 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 Mafia Wars game is similar to Digital Chocolate’s in that players must advance their characters through levels of a fictional crime syndicate by completing tasks.
     Digital Chocolate claims it notified Zynga last year that it owned rights to Mafia Wars. Zynga attorneys responded with a letter promising to stop using the name, then the company launched a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign with 7-Eleven to promote the game, and filed two trademark applications to register the Mafia Wars mark for a range of products, from beer mugs and napkins to sweatshirts and hats, according to the 69-page federal complaint.
     For its part, Zynga previously filed a lawsuit against another competitor, Playdom, accusing it of infringing on its rights to Mafia Wars.
     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.
     Digital Chocolate is represented by Michael Rhodes with Cooley LLP.

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