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Trip Hawkins suing Zynga over Mafia Wars

His studio claims it used the name first.

Industry veteran Trip Hawkins and his Digital Chocolate studio are suing Facebook gaming titans Zynga over the rights to the Mafia Wars name.

Courthouse News (via Gamespot) reports that Digital Chocolate - which has been selling a mobile phone game called Mafia Wars since 2004 - wants Zynga prevented from using the name and forced to pay for a "corrective advertising campaign" costing double what it has spent marketing Mafia Wars.

Digital Chocolate claims that it notified Zynga that it owned the Mafia Wars name in 2009, whereupon the Facebook developer wrote back conceding the point and promising to stop using the name.

However, Zynga then went on to launch a marketing campaign for Mafia Wars, file trademark applications for it, and even file its own lawsuit against Playdom accusing it of infringing its own rights to Mafia Wars.

Mafia Wars has some 1 million players a day, and together with Zynga's other hit FarmVille dominates the Facebook gaming market. Can Trip trip it up?