Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Facebook Shuts Down Scrabulous in U.S. and Canada After Notice of Lawsuit Against Game Makers

It's Scrabulous . . . no more.

Well, it didn’t take long for Facebook, Inc., the popular online networking site, to give into the demands of Hasbro Inc., the owner of the rights to the famed Scrabble game in the United States and Canada. Reports today from Bloomberg News (link here) are that Facebook, Inc. decided to shut down the popular “Scrabble”-like game Scrabulous in the U.S. and Canada. Last week, Hasbro filed a trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit against Rajat Agarwalla, Jayant Agarwalla and their company, RJ Softwares, the developers of the Scrabulous game. See Hasbro, Inc. v. RJ Softwares, Rajat Agarwalla, and Jayant Agarwalla, Case No. 08-cv-6567 (S.D.N.Y. July 23, 2008). A copy of the complaint can be found on The Trademark Blog.

Hasbro also sent a notice of infringement to Facebook and demanded that Facebook shut down Scrabulous. (Click here for an earlier blog entry on the cease and desist letter sent previously by Hasbro to Facebook). As is often the case, Facebook apparently did not take Hasbro’s earlier demands seriously until it recognized that Hasbro was willing to take legal action.

It will be interesting to see if Mattel, the owner of the rights to Scrabble outside the U.S. and Canada (through J.W. Spear & Sons Limited), decides to take any action to shut down the game elsewhere.

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