A court decision in India on Wednesday will be of much interest to hundreds of thousands in the global online community. A popular blog on intellectual property rights, SpicyIP, reported that the Delhi high court has ruled on a lawsuit against two Kolkata-based brothers’ online version of the all-time favourite game Scrabble.
Under pressure from the copyright holders—Hasbro and Mattel—Facebook, the host, had banned the huge hit, Scrabulous, in all countries it served last month— except India, which was waiting for this ruling. The high court has now said that the online version can run as it does not infringe any copyright, but it can’t use any name derived from the trademark Scrabble. What will Mattel/Hasbro do now? Two Wharton professors had raised pertinent issues last month. First, as Scrabulous was doing wonders for the Scrabble franchise, a tie-up with it might be smarter than a knee-jerk lawsuit. Second, does the revenue from Scrabble exceed the cost of all negative publicity?
One among the multiple outraged users has questioned if all this is “capitalism’s victory over fun.”