Scrabble-Scrabulous standoff spells L-A-W-S-U-I-T

After unsuccessful take-down notice requests, Hasbro files copyright infringement suit against creators of popular Facebook clone.

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It was only a matter of time before the Scrabble-Scrabulous feud came to a head, and that breaking point has now been reached. Hasbro said today that it has filed suit in the Southern District of New York against Rajat Agarwalla, Jayant Agarwalla, and RJ Softwares, better known as the creators of the popular Facebook application Scrabulous. As part of the suit, Hasbro said that it has served Facebook with yet another take-down notice for the application due to copyright infringement.

Though the application has been available since 2006, Hasbro began its crusade to have Scrabulous removed from Facebook earlier this year. The reason for the gamemaker's sudden ire toward the application, which draws more than 500,000 daily average users, can be attributed to the launch of the official Scrabble online game through EA's Pogo.com and Facebook this month. Currently, the official Scrabble Facebook application logs just under 20,000 users globally.

"Hasbro has an obligation to act appropriately against infringement of our intellectual properties," commented Hasbro general counsel Barry Nagler. "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."

Hasbro, which signed an exclusive licensing agreement with publishing powerhouse Electronic Arts in August 2007, has begun migrating a number of its prized casual-game properties to the digital gaming sector. Most recently, EA announced this week that Operation Mania--a spin-off of the surgeon-in-training precision puzzle game--will be available through Pogo.com and at retail for the PC beginning in August for $19.95.

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