Scrabulous No Longer a Stratego Risk to Hasbro Monopoly
Except for Scrabulous, apparently. The online knockoff of Hasbro’s 75-year-old word game has been removed from Facebook at the game-maker’s request. “In response to a legal request from Hasbro, the copyright and trademark holder for Scrabble in the U.S. & Canada, the developers of Scrabulous have suspended their application in the U.S. and Canada until further notice,” Facebook explained in a statement.
Not exactly a surprise, given recent events. Last week, Hasbro filed suit against Scrabulous creators Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla, claiming trademark and copyright infringement. “Hasbro has an obligation to act appropriately against infringement of our intellectual properties,” said Barry Nagler, Hasbro’s general counsel, at the time. “We view the Scrabulous application as clear and blatant infringement of our Scrabble intellectual property, and we are pursuing this legal action in accordance with the interests of our shareholders, and the integrity of the Scrabble brand.”
An understandable view. Scrabulous is, let’s face it, trading on Scrabble’s name and conceit. And, until it was pulled, it had over two million users and was generating over $25,000 per month in revenue–for someone other than Hasbro. That said, when was the last time you played Scrabble offline?
If you answered, “I can’t recall,” or “at Aunt Marge’s house when I was eleven,” you’re probably like a lot of other folks out there who only rediscovered the game because of Scrabulous. And when you think about it that way, Scrabulous could have been the perfect licensing opportunity for Hasbro (HAS), had the company decided to view it as that, instead of an affront to its intellectual property. Two-million- users-and-growing is a hell of a lot better than the 8,900 users the official Scrabble Facebook app has garnered since its launch earlier this month.