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Scrabulous scores a mixed ruling

September 27, 2008|Alex Pham | Times Staff Writer

Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, the Indian brothers who came up with the Scrabble-style word game for Facebook called Scrabulous, told fans that their country's courts ruled that their game did not violate Mattel Inc.'s copyrights.

It did, however, consider the name Scrabulous a trademark violation and ordered the Agarwallas to stop using the word, the brothers said.

"We will take a call on whether we will appeal against the decision on the trademark after consulting our legal advisors," the Agarwallas wrote in an e-mail to fans. Bottom line: The Indian court believes that the Scrabulous game is legally in the clear; it's just that it can't be called that.

Mattel, which owns the international rights to Scrabble, in February sued the Agarwallas in Indian court.

Hasbro, the owner of Scrabble in North America, followed suit in July. Several days later, the Agarwallas pulled the application from Facebook and put up Wordscraper, a similar game that lets players modify their own board.

Mattel, based in El Segundo, did not return calls requesting comment.

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