Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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7/25/2008
06:25 PM
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Scrabble Sues Scrabulous For IP Infringement

Hasbro's lawsuit calls the online word game Scrabulous a "clear and blatant" infringement of Scrabble's intellectual property.

The company that owns Scrabble has sued Scrabulous, the online word game that resembles Hasbro's board game.

The toy and game company filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, claiming that Scrabulous creators Rajat Agarwalla and Jayant Agarwalla and RJ Softwares, an offshore software and Web services provider, infringed on its intellectual property. The lawsuit calls the online word game Scrabulous a "clear and blatant" infringement of Scrabble's intellectual property.

"We are pursuing this legal action in accordance with the interests of our shareholders, and the integrity of the Scrabble brand," Hasbro general counsel Barry Nagler said in a statement.

Hasbro also tried to remove the game from Facebook before launching its original game on the social networking site in the beginning of July. The company has sent a letter demanding that Facebook remove Scrabulous from the reach of users in the United States and Canada. Mattel owns the rights to the game outside of those two countries.

Scrabble is available in 121 countries and 29 languages. The game, featuring letter tiles and point values for each letter, was invented in 1938. Scrabulous, created by two brothers in India, launched in 2006 and became popular on the Web, specifically on social networking sites, before the traditional Scrabble game was available online.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, states Scrabulous uses "essential and original elements" of the famous board game. It also points out that the names "Scrabulous" and "Scrabble" are "confusingly similar." Finally, it states that the defendants said: "It's not really different." Hasbro said the statements amounts to a concession that they copied the board game.

The company is seeking damages, legal costs, and the elimination of the online game.

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