July 08, 2008

Scrabulous, the popular online game accessible via Facebook, is set to be replaced by an online version of Scrabble. Electronic Arts, the owner of the digital rights to Hasbro’s Scrabble, challenged the legality of Scrabulous earlier this year, claiming that Scrabulous infringes on the Scrabble trademarks. Scrabulous has been available for quite some time, and according to the Webware and TechCrunch articles (links below), approximately 400,000-450,000 people play the online game each day, compared to the 4,000-6,000 people per day who play online Scrabble through Facebook (noting that Scrabble is only available by Real Networks through Facebook for users outside of the United States). According to the TechCrunch article (link below), efforts to develop Scrabble through Facebook have taken more than six months, “[r]ather than force Facebook to shut down Scrabulous immediately, however, Hasbro and Electronic Arts realized that they would suffer an extreme backlash if they took away everyone’s favorite Facebook game without offering up an alternative. Now that the alternative is almost here, it remains to be seen whether they will try to eliminate the competition.” Scrabble is expected to be available through Facebook within the next few weeks.

Webware Article: LINK
TechCrunch Article: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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