30
Jul/08

What Should IP Owners Do In A Scrabulous Situation?


The NY Times reports today that (1) the authorized version of SCRABBLE on Facebook was the victim of ‘a malicious attack’ by hackers and (2) Hasbro acknowledged that it had waited until the authorized version was up before moving to enjoin Scrabulous. Meanwhile, Hasbro has been subject to criticism and boycott threats.
The Scrabulous situation is a recurring one for IP owners. There is always a new platform (Facebook, the iPhone, the Web itself) presenting itself as an opportunity for a new version of a popular property (I had to tear myself away from Tap Tap Revenge to post this).
Solo developers will always have a speed advantage in getting to those new platforms first (and, if those developers have expertise native to those platforms, they may have other advantages as well, It is reported, for example,. that Scrabulous is superior to the authorized FB version of Scrabble, as it loads much quicker).
If the Agarwalla Brothers had approached Hasbro two years ago with a proposal for a FB version of Scrabble, what likely result?
If Hasbro were to pay the Agarwalla Brothers millions, what likely result?
If Hasbro had brought this action in January, 7 months prior to having its own version up and running, what likely result?
Please comment.

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