Electronic Arts have filed a lawsuit against social gaming company Zynga citing copyright infringement. EA claims that Zynga’s The Ville “copied the original and distinctive expressive elements” found in The Sims Social, according to a blog post from Lucy Bradshaw, general manager of EA’s Maxis label. The complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California earlier today.

As the name suggests, The Sims Social is EA’s rendition of the popular franchise designed specifically for Facebook. The title launched in August 2011 and currently enjoys several million active players while Zynga’s The Ville was introduced two months ago.

Bradshaw notes in her blog post that similarities between the two games go well beyond any superficial resemblance. She specifically highlights Zynga’s design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions as elements that have been borrowed from EA’s game.

The EA rep further points out that Maxis isn’t the first studio to claim that Zynga has copied one of their games but they have the financial and corporate resources to “stand up and do something about it.”

Zynga replied to the accusations earlier today through a statement sent to CNET. In it, general counsel Reggie David said it was unfortunate that EA thought this was the appropriate reaction to their game and suggests they lack an understanding of basic copyright principles. The Zynga official goes on to point the finger at EA’s SimCity Social, claiming it bears an uncanny resemblance to their CityVille game.

The social media gaming company plans to defend their rights to the fullest extent possible.