Scrabulous Scrapped on Facebook

"We're working on some tech problems and Scrabble will be ready to play as soon as possible," EA spokeswoman Trudy Miller said in an e-mailed statement. "EA is monitoring feedback from fans, and we are already in the process of making changes that will result in a variety of improvements, including faster game play, leading up to the official launch scheduled for the first half of August."

Hasbro said it was "pleased" with the developments.

"We appreciate Facebook's assistance in expediting this matter. Hasbro has consistently stated that Scrabulous is a blatant infringement of Hasbro's Scrabble intellectual property rights in the United States and Canada," Hasbro said in a statement. "Mattel, holders of the SCRABBLE IP rights outside of the United States and Canada, several months ago also filed a suit which is awaiting a decision by the Indian court."

Scrabulous co-creator Jayant Agarwalla told in an e-mail that the application was pulled in response to Facebook's concerns.

"We will sincerely hope to bring to our fans brighter news in the days to come," he wrote.

The Scrabulous fracas heated up last week when Hasbro, the owner of Scrabble in the United States and Canada, sued the Agarwalla brothers over intellectual property rights to the board game and asked Facebook to remove the popular application from its site.

In a statement issued late last Thursday, Facebook said it hoped the suit wouldn't discourage other developers from creating applications for the social network.

"Over the past year, Facebook has tried to use its status as neutral platform provider to help the parties come to an amicable agreement," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We're disappointed that Hasbro has sought to draw us into their dispute; nevertheless, we have forwarded their concerns to Scrabulous and requested their appropriate response."

Scrabulous is played much the same way as Scrabble and is among the top 10 most downloaded applications on Facebook, which has more than 90 million active users. It can also be played online at the brothers' Web site, Despite the application's removal from Facebook, the site remained active.

Last year, Hasbro struck a deal with video game maker Electronic Arts to develop digital versions of classic board games.

That deal came to fruition in the past few weeks, as Hasbro launched an online version of the official Scrabble, also downloadable on Facebook.

Hasbro had been mum on what legal action, if any, it would take -- until last week.

"In deference to the fans, we waited in pursuing legal action until EA had a legitimate and better alternative available," Hasbro said in a statement.

Hasbro isn't the first company to bring a licensed Scrabble application to Facebook. In April, RealNetworks, an Internet software provider, launched Scrabble by Mattel on the social networking site. The application allows Facebook members outside the U.S. and Canada — or those who say they live outside the two countries — to play the real Scrabble.

Last year, RealNetworks struck a deal with Mattel, which owns the copyright to Scrabble internationally, to develop online casual games based on several Mattel board games, including Scrabble.

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