The game is won, the name lost - Brothers get court nod for online wordplay, but can't call it Scrabulous

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 26.09.08

The Brothers Agarwalla have won the game but lost the name in the Scrabulous scrap.

Delhi High Court has ruled that Calcutta-based Rajat, 27, and Jayant, 22, will retain the right to post their word game online, but will not be allowed to use Scrabulous, Scrabble or any other “similar sounding” name.

“It’s a great occasion for us. We duly defended ourselves in multiple hearings,” Jayant told Metro, hours after the order regarding the Mattel lawsuit reached him on Thursday.

Toy giant Mattel Inc — which holds the worldwide trademark rights for Scrabble except in USA and Canada — had filed a trademark suit against the brothers in February for calling the game Scrabulous and also claimed copyright over “a virtual version of Scrabble”. Mattel later sent a legal notice to Facebook to remove the Scrabulous application. It was dropped from the social networking site on August 22. Now it is up to Facebook to restore the game.

The creators of Scrabulous, the Agarwalla brothers of RJ Software on VIP Road, have in effect won the copyright but lost the trademark battle. “The high court held that no one had any copyright on the board game as it was an expression of an idea,” said advocate Sushant M. Singh.

Scrabulous was first launched online by the two St Xavier’s College graduates in 2005. With Facebook becoming a rage, this brainchild of the brothers from south Calcutta developed a global fan following. And when Mattel dragged them to court, this David vs Goliath battle drew online hits galore.

“Here’s a message for our fans: ‘Folks! Take a deep breath, relax and smile. We are here to share and spread happiness... through our little online games,” stated the siblings who have hit bullseye again with Wordscraper, that allows hundreds of players on Facebook to compete with each other.