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Hasbro Sues Scrabulous

scrabulous_interface2008.jpg

So last year, I added Scrabulous, and have been playing this game with all my friends. I've been following the stories about Hasbro. Awhile back, they were in negotiations to settle. The makers of Scrabulous are brothers from Kolkata, India, and they net $300,000 a year, and could be worth between $3-10 million (NY Times). I read in another article that the two brothers from Kolkata wanted to sell Scrabulous to Hasbro for $10 million, which Hasbro refused.

Personally, I've never played Scrabble before the Scrabulous app. I think the reason why Scrabulous is so popular is because it's the perfect social game, and it solves the issue of timing. After one or two months after adding this popular app, I noticed people playing the board game at cafes and hotel lobbies. Scrabulous revived Scrabble.

Anyway Hasbro hired EA to launch a Scrabble Facebook app, which only had fewer than 10,000 players whereas Scrabulous has 2.3 million players (Slashdot). So since they failed at their Facebook app, they are now going to sue the makers of Scrabulous.

It's going to be interesting to see who wins this trademark case, since Scrabble has been for 70 years (Wikipedia). I remembered awhile back reading about trademark, and you know when studios "digitally master" a movie every 25 years, like Excorcist , Bladerunner, and many Disney movies? They do that to renew their rights on intellectual property. But when they digitally remaster those movies, they new copy is an exact copy.

I think that Hasbro would be smart to hire the Kolkata brothers to translate all their board games to digital media (like Google buying YouTube, or Yahoo buying Flickr or del.icio.us). This suit will probably piss a lot of Scrabulous players off, and I'm not sure that will be good press for Hasbro.

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