Litigation is stemming from Digital Chocolate's previously trademarked mobile game of the same name, Mafia Wars, where players "must advance their characters through levels of a fictional crime syndicate by completing tasks." DC also claims that, in speaking with Zynga last year about the trademark rights, "Zynga attorneys responded with a letter promising to stop using the name." In its defense, a Zynga rep told Joystiq, "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."
The United States Patent and Trademark Office lists Zynga's first filing date for a game under the name "Mafia Wars" as July 1, 2009, though no filing under that name could be located with Digital Chocolate as the applicant. Digital Chocolate has not responded to requests for comment by press time.