Tag Archives: Best Ever

How many points is INFRINGEMENT?

We had been wondering who had the “Z.” Now the other tile drops, and probably right onto a triple word score — Hasbro, owner of the SCRABBLE trademark, has sued Scrabulous (complaint here; exhibits here):

The general manager for digital media and gaming at Hasbro said yesterday that the company had waited until there was a “legal” version of Scrabble on Facebook before it took action against the Scrabulous creators.

The lawsuit, filed in a US district court in New York, accused Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla – two software developers based in Calcutta – of violating Hasbro’s copyright and trademarks. Facebook was not named as a defendant.

Neither brother nor any representative from their web design company, RJ Softwares, could immediately be reached for comment today.

More here. The complaint is not online yet.* We’ll try to keep you posted.

UPDATE:  For what it’s worth — maybe, someday, my descendants will read this — I just remembered that my first-ever trademark research project as a paid legal professional was as a summer associate at Kaye, Scholer, where I was assigned to research a question involving some aspect of the Scrabble trademarks on behalf of client Selchow & Righter, which had then recently been purchased by Coleco and owned the rights to Scrabble before Hasbro bought them out of bankruptcy.  Of course the nature of the research I did is still confidential… even to me.  But I can say confidently that in the summer of 1987, it did not involve Scrabulous.

UPDATE:  The offending “app” is now gone from Facebook, while a thousand utterly idiotic — but non-infringing — ones live on!

UPDATE:  Victoria Pynchon does the heavy lifting:

If Player 1 opens with “fringe” (double word) for 24 points; Player 2 follows by slapping an “i” on the triple word score followed by an “n” for “infringe” and 33 points; and, Player 1 responds with “ment” for 19 points, the combined score for “infringement” is 75 points. Our readers can do the math and moves on “trademark” and copyright.”

UPDATE:  And… what ever did happen to Scrabulous, you ask?

* Even though, like all District Courts, the Southern District of New York, which describes itself as the Mother of District Courts, has mandatory electronic filing, you have to file the initial pleading or case-opening document in person, then go back, scan the file and mail it back to the clerk. If t They filed on Thursday the 24th;  the complaint should be was online some time Monday or Tuesday.

Companies versus their fans

Walter Olson:

The real thing, God save us.

The real thing, God save us.

The famous maker of candies and candy-dispensers is suing the owners of the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia in Northern California, claiming that its venture into Pez homage, which includes a Guinness-record largest replica of a Pez dispenser, infringe the firm’s trademarks and “deceive the public into thinking that the museum is operating under the authority of Pez.”

You can just imagine how fans feel when they realize this is not true — that the giant Pez dispenser, the whole Pez moment they were sharing with their families was unauthorized…. counterfeit… illicit.

Well, deceived of course!  That’s how they feel.

Ron ColemanYes… they stare stupidly ahead at the interstate the whole ride back home, not knowing whether to feel like the most naive marks ever to be duped into thinking a Pez collection was authorized, or whether they should be securing counsel and begging for peace and no worse than nominal damages and attorneys’ fees — and of course a permanent injunction with molto back-end liquidated damages and then some — for their own sordid part in the whole scummy charade.  For at some point, after all, you have to reckon with wilfull blindness, even on a consumer’s part. And if you press the point, really, think it through…

They knew it, really.  They never really believed, in their hearts of hearts, that this was authorized Pez.  This is never how the Pez people would do it.

But what harried parent could take a stand and turn down the chance to save a few bucks and stretch out a family vacation to include one more tacky “attraction” in lean times… and to hell with Pez, and their decades of hard-earned brand equity, all those licensing fees duly paid to manufacture miniature heads (authorized heads, damn it!) (no, not that kind!) of Popeye and Mickey Mouse and President Kennedy so these beloved friends to all children could effortlessly open their gullets and dispense those delicate light-fruity lozenges of Pezzy pleasure into those tiny, expectant fingers …

And now?  Now what’s the lesson for sad little Timmy and bawling little Judy in the back of the minivan — now that they know what Mom and Dad knew all along:

“Museum of Pez Memorabilia”?  Pez?!  You want a real Pez museum?  …

You can’t HANDLE a real Pez museum!

UPDATE:  From the Pez Museum website, or so it appears to be:

Joint Press Release:
On February 25, 2010, the parties participated in a Court-ordered confidential settlement conference before a federal magistrate judge. At the settlement conference, PEZ Candy Inc. and the Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia reached settlement of the lawsuit and the lawsuit has since been dismissed. The parties have agreed to keep the details of the settlement confidential.