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Court rules that Scramble is not the same as Scrabble

A zinger for Zynga
Mon Nov 04 2013, 15:42
Scrabble iPhone app

A UK JUDGE has decided that the word Scramble is not the same as Scrabble, even when the M is made to look a bit like a B.

If you are wondering why this is an issue then you are behind on the controversy between new games firm Zynga and old games firm Mattel.

Mattel objected to Zynga's very Scrabble-like word based tile game Scramble, and took its complaint to court.

Unfortunately the UK High Court did not see things the same way as Mattel, and did not award it anything like a triple word score.

Justice Peter Smith conceded that Zynga might have worked to make Scramble look like Scrabble, but did not see why it should not.

In his ruling Justice Smith said that Mattel had been slow to complain about Zynga's use of the word Scramble and only did so after it launched its own alternative game for Apple devices.

"The logo is 'Scramble With Friends'. The m appears in a different form and it is possible (as some of the evidence showed) that a quick casual look would give the impression that the word is not 'Scramble' but 'Scrabble' with a B on its side," he wrote.

"However no serious claim is made by Mattel that that is passing off. Its case stands or falls simply on the use of the word Scrabble or Scramble."

The judge decided that while Zynga can keep using the word Scramble, it will have to amend the way it represents its M. Zynga declined to comment. We are waiting for a response from Mattel.

In a statement to the BBC the old school games firm expressed happiness with its partial victory.

"We are pleased that the English High Court today affirmed Mattel's request for an injunction against Zynga, finding that the similarities between their Scramble With Friends logo and Mattel's intellectual property likely would confuse the public into thinking they were in fact downloading Scrabble," it said.

"We are, however, disappointed that the court did not rule that Zynga should cease using the Scramble name, which Mattel intends to appeal." µ

 

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