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Digital Chocolate, Zynga Settle  Mafia Wars  Lawsuit

Digital Chocolate, Zynga Settle Mafia Wars Lawsuit

February 23, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

February 23, 2011 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

Social game developer Digital Chocolate has settled its lawsuit against rival studio Zynga, which alleged trademark infringement, unfair competition, and other charges regarding the Mafia Wars trademark.

In the suit filed last August, Digital Chocolate said it published a Mafia Wars mobile game in 2004 (followed by three sequels, the last of which debuted in April 2009), three years before Zynga opened and four years before the company put out an identically-titled game on various platforms.

Digital Chocolate claims it sent a notice to Zynga in January 2009 demanding the developer stop using the Mafia Wars name. It also alleges that Zynga admitted it didn't have rights for the title but filed an application to register the trademark with the U.S. Patent Trademark Office two months later.

"Through duplicity and bad faith, Zynga has effectively hijacked the Mafia Wars mark from Digital Chocolate and is aggressively marketing its games under the Mafia Wars mark to Digital Chocolate's substantial detriment," said the firm in documents filed with California's Northern District Court.

Though the companies settled the lawsuit, neither disclosed terms for the settlement, according to The Recorder. The full list of charges against Zynga included federal/common law trademark infringement, federal/state/common law unfair competition, false designation of origin, and cyber-squatting.

The settlement doesn't seem to have required Zynga to re-title Mafia Wars, as the game remains available with its unchanged name. On Facebook, the virtual mobster game has around 13.5 million monthly active users and 2.3 daily players. It's the sixth most popular game on the social network.

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