I know I should be studying right now instead of blogging about some internet meme, most famous in its avatara as a facebook application. I hadn't been following the scrabulous story from the beginning and even now, I do injustice to my being a law student by being almost totally uninterested in the IP aspect of it. In fact in my early sightings of scrabulous I had scorned at it as yet another hook for mouse potatoes. I've never played scrabulous or any other form of online scrabble and the primary intention behind all the games of actually solid scrabble I have played has been passing time on afternoons and evenings in a time when I used to have entire afternoons and evenings free.
Scrabulous however fired my imagination because it sounds like something I dream of being at the helm of. It would be really kick ass to be the provider of a service or seller of a product, which is unique and inexpensive(also acceptable if the uniqueness is that it is inexpensive), to an insanely large clientele.
I was also pleased to read this today which extols some additional virtues of scrabulous.
I don't really know how valid the Hasbro - Mattel claims against the Aggarwal brothers are but I really think that the $10 million being offered by the big toy corps is in fact a little on the higher side considering all risks of losing it all in a law suit.
No, I'm not for a moment suggesting that the program which is apparently played by 7 lakh people every day will not generate value worth $10 million. All I'm telling the Aggarwal brothers is that once their brainchild went viral, they should have put some kind of legal fencing around their enterprise (by entering into some contract with either if the two giants or buying rights to market it online) or disguised it enough so that the app they put out on the net would have or at least appear to have some kind of innovative improvement from the original. Now that they have not done it they should be willing to settle for the pittance the Barbie maker and his friend are offering.
Scrabulous does indeed have some kind of improvement over regular scrabble. It apparently detects and blocks fake words. And to be fair to the Bania Brothers from Cal (cutta not ifornia), perhaps if they had disguised it enough to distinguish it from the original, it wouldn't have become so popular in the first place.
The lesson for Hasbro-Mattel seems to be that even if you are a giant, you have to keep your eyes open. Apparently they were now, so long after the internet boom, about to sign a deal with some techie company to make the virtual scrabble.
My prediction for this post is that the next big thing in this area will be multiplayer scrabble on mobile phones. Lets hope someone with a good lawyer makes that move first. Or is it out already, I wouldn't know, I have only a mid range phone and am not featured in the gaming scene.
I shouldn't be this worried about people who create legal hassles for themselves. At least not until they hire me.