Mob Wars Creator Sues Zynga

Mafia WarsRecently, SGN released its Mafia title on the iPhone after months of legal battles between the company and David Maestri, the creator of Mob Wars, over the game’s rights. At the time of development, Maestri had been working for SGN, but in the end the two settled, and Maestri was granted the rights to Mob Wars while SGN won a full license to develop similar titles.

Maestri is pursuing IP matters around the game further, however: his company Psycho Monkey recently filed suit against Zynga, the developer of Mafia Wars, according to TechCrunch.

(Ironically, based on last month‘s numbers, Mafia Wars had around 700,000 more active users on Facebook than Mob Wars did.)

Anyone that has been involved in social gaming for a while could tell you that the two games play in a very similar, text-based, RPG fashion, as do many other “Mob Wars clones.” However, what a lot of social gaming people could also tell you, is that the majority of RPGs on Facebook play in virtually the same way as either of these mobster titles, and the only real difference is context and a few name/image swaps.

Precedents in IP around social gaming are sure to be an interesting trend this year. How far does copyright extend in these cases? The outcome of this and similar cases will have important effects on similar games across every major social network as well as the iPhone in the months ahead.

The court docket, “Psycho Monkey, LLC v. Zynga Game Network, Inc.,” can be found here.

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11 Responses to “Mob Wars Creator Sues Zynga”

  1. Ted Howard says:

    The rampant theft of intellectual property in this area has amazed me. It seems very similar with the catalog of iPhone apps. I tried to explain it to a lawyer friend, and he couldn’t even wrap his head around it.

    On a related note, I worked with the inventor of Tetris on a game recently and so had the chance to apologize for playing Tetris clones. He was very understanding though I can imagine that he was not always so understanding. Maestri seems less understanding at the moment.

  2. Maestri Strikes Again: Files Suit Against You Plus, Creators of Mobsters says:

    [...] It seems like only yesterday that news arose that Psycho Monkey is suing Zynga. [...]

  3. Neil says:

    David is the biggest hypocrite in the world… first off, dopewars was out first long before his copycat game, and secondly, he ripped off zynga on the financial aspects of the game… Zynga invited him to a seminar to show that thief how to make money at his game, and he went and just did it…and now sues… hope he loses everything in court.

  4. Zynga Sues Playdom Over Mobsters Ads says:

    [...] itself being sued by Mob Wars creator Psycho Monkey for IP issues regarding the Zynga title Mafia Wars, has now filed suit against other leading rival Playdom for misuse of the mark “Mafia [...]

  5. Zynga Sues Playdom Over Mobsters Ads says:

    [...] itself being sued by Mob Wars creator Psycho Monkey for IP issues regarding the Zynga title Mafia Wars, has now filed suit against other leading rival Playdom for misuse of the mark “Mafia Wars” in [...]

  6. Zynga Sues Playdom Over Mobsters Ads @ cash tower says:

    [...] itself being sued by Mob Wars creator Psycho Monkey for IP issues regarding the Zynga title Mafia Wars, has now filed suit against other leading rival Playdom for misuse of the mark “Mafia Wars” in [...]

  7. FarmVille is the Fastest Growing App on Facebook with 3 Million New Users This Week says:

    [...] more coins via credit card, PayPal, mobile phone, etc. While Zynga is currently on the sending and receiving end of IP-related lawsuits – and FarmVille itself can’t be called an original idea – it is [...]

  8. Zynga Settles Mob Wars Litigation | Take A Plunge says:

    [...] Wars creator David Maestri sued Zynga for copyright infringement in February 2009. If you remember Zynga is the creator of the game Mafia [...]

  9. Zynga Goes to the Mattresses: 22 Lawsuits Filed This Year, and Counting says:

    [...] Facebook game developer Zynga was sued for copyright infringement by rival Psycho Monkey last February. It was accused of copying the popular — and lucrative [...]

  10. Go Fish — For A Gaming Lawsuit, in Japan says:

    [...] suits that we know about. On that list includes the multiple copyright suits from David Maestri against Zynga and Playdom (YouPlus back then) over Mob Wars, Mafia and Mobsters respectively; several trademark [...]

  11. Lucian says:

    Verry nicegame guys add me @ iphone 7803117176

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