I just saw the news about Hasbro, the makers of Scrabble (invented in 1938!), filing a copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit against the developers of Scrabulous and thought I’d share what I learned about these crazy laws.
I’ll summarize what I read in the LA Times, but if you’d like to read the article, here it is, Scrabble vs. Scrabulous: A Lesson in Copyright Law.
- A copyright claim lasts for the life of the author, plus 70 years (where did they get 70 from? Seems random to me)
- A trademark claim is indefinite, as long as it remains in use
- Trademark claims prevent third parties from making both literal use of a trademark as well as uses that are confusingly similar, including copying the creative expression or mimicking