An AP story reports that Hasbro and Mattel, makers of Scrabble(R), are unhappy with an unauthorized online version of the game called Scrabulous. The companies, which share worldwide rights to the boardgame, have sent cease-and-desist letters to the two brothers from India who created the online version which is very popular on Facebook.
According to the official Scrabble(R) website, the first version of the game, called Lexico, was invented in 1931 by an unemployed architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Unfortunately, his repeated attempts in the 1930s to secure a patent on the game and license it to Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley all ended in failure. In the mid-1940s, James and Helen Brunot of Newtown, Conn., who had acquired one of Butts’ homemade sets, entered into a partnership with Butts to market a redesigned, simpler version of the game. The trademark Scrabble was registered on December 16, 1948. (Reg. 524,505) The Brunots patented an improvement to the game in 1956. (US2,752,158)
Hasbro owns the Scrabble trademarks and copyrights in North America; Mattel in the rest of the world.