Hasbro is suing the creators of the popular Scrabulous Facebook game, after a request the toy company made to the social network earlier this year to pull the game went unanswered. In January when Hasbro first began to fuss about Scrabulous, many were perplexed — wasn't the prolific Facebook board game an homage to the original, arguably even a sort of viral marketing? But today's infringement suit announcement comes just after Electronic Arts, through its partnership with Hasbro, launched its own official Scrabble game on Facebook, a launch no doubt complicated by the existence of an unlicensed, competing game. Hasbro says Scrabulous infringes on its intellectual property rights, and is suing creators Rajat Agarwalla and Jayant Agarwalla, while requesting that Facebook pull the application immediately. Full announcement follows the jump.Hasbro, Inc. Files Infringement Suit Against Creators of Scrabulous Game Application Suit Filed in Southern District of New York Centers on Application's Infringement of Hasbro's SCRABBLE Intellectual Property Rights in the U.S. and Canada PAWTUCKET, R.I.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) today filed suit against the creators of the Scrabulous game application, which infringes on the Company's SCRABBLE intellectual property rights. In addition, Hasbro has delivered to Facebook, which hosts the Scrabulous game, a notification of copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (or the "DMCA") requesting that they remove the Scrabulous application in the U.S. and Canada as soon as possible. "Hasbro has an obligation to act appropriately against infringement of our intellectual properties," said Barry Nagler, Hasbro's General Counsel. "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." The suit, which was filed in the Southern District of New York earlier today, names Scrabulous creators, Rajat Agarwalla and Jayant Agarwalla, and RJ Softwares as the defendants. Hasbro has a strategic alliance with Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) to create digital games based on a huge array of Hasbro's intellectual properties. As part of this alliance, Electronic Arts launched a legitimate version of SCRABBLE for Facebook earlier this month. This represents the first of many Hasbro game properties slated to launch on social networking sites later this year. "Hasbro and Electronic Arts are very pleased to offer fans an authentic SCRABBLE experience on Facebook, which is complementary to EA's full-range of SCRABBLE offerings — from the cell phone, to the iPod, and now, social networking," said Mark Blecher, General Manager, Hasbro Digital Media and Gaming. "Hasbro and EA have worked diligently to provide a great game play experience on Facebook, and we are confident that fans of the game will welcome a genuine experience highlighted by top of the line graphics, strong technical support, and of course, classic SCRABBLE game play." "After playing with EA's version of SCRABBLE on Facebook, I have no doubt that SCRABBLE players in the U.S. and Canada will absolutely love the authentic game play and overall experience," said John D. Williams Jr., Executive Director of the National SCRABBLE Association (NSA). "I am particularly pleased that EA's version of SCRABBLE offers such a simple and intuitive interface which will allow players to jump right in and start playing. Between the classic board game, Facebook, Pogo, the iPod and the iPhone, our members can now play their favorite game virtually anytime, anywhere." Hasbro, Inc. is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time products and services with a rich portfolio of brands and entertainment properties that provides some of the highest quality and most recognizable play and recreational experiences in the world. As a brand-driven, consumer-focused global company, Hasbro brings to market a range of toys, games and licensed products, from traditional to high-tech and digital, under such powerful brand names as TRANSFORMERS, PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, CRANIUM and WIZARDS OF THE COAST. Come see how we inspire play through our brands at www.hasbro.com. (C)2008 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
It's moments like this that truly describe how much a company cares about its customers.
If someone makes something on a new medium/platform that you and your company should have already developed for, you (as a company) can do one of two things.
1: Buy out said product and label it as your own.
2: Make your own, deploy, then sue.
Choice 1 makes you look good to customers and ultimately will help you sell more of your product.
Choice 2 makes you look like a total asshole and will ultimately help ensure people spit whenever your name is mentioned.
(Intellectual Property rights are good and all, but there are contexts in which they are also horrible, stifling, and bad for the consumer. This is one of those contexts.)
Poor Hasbro, first they join up with EA, now this. My childhood memories are being tainted... and I hate Scrabble.