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Facebook has removed the popular word game Scrabulous from its U.S. and Canadian sites after Hasbro sued the online game makers.
The social networking site said Scrabulous creators Rajat Agarwalla and Jayant Agarwalla and their company RJ Softwares made the decision after Hasbro said Scrabulous infringes on its intellectual property by copying and threatening to diminish its Scrabble brand.
An online version of the original Scrabble board game is on Facebook, but members with U.S. or Canadian profiles who try to play Scrabulous get a message saying the game has been disabled for users in those two countries until further notice. The message allows users to click on a link to "stay informed." The link leads to an e-mail form for receiving updates from Scrabulous.
Hasbro filed its lawsuit in the Southern District of New York last week, claiming RJ Softwares, an offshore software and Web services provider, infringed on its intellectual property.
The lawsuit calls the online word game Scrabulous a "clear and blatant" infringement of Scrabble's intellectual property. It says Scrabulous uses "essential and original elements" of the famous board game and argues that the names "Scrabulous" and "Scrabble" are "confusingly similar."
Finally, it states that the defendants said, "It's not really different." Hasbro said the statement amounts to a concession that they copied the board game.
The company is seeking damages, legal costs, and the elimination of the online game.
Mattel owns the rights to the game in nearly 120 other countries.