By Eric Auchard\Reuters UK
Word-wise game players lost a popular online diversion on Tuesday [July 29, 2008] as the creators of a knock-off of the game Scrabble cut off service in North America in the face of a lawsuit by game maker Hasbro.
Scrabulous, an online version of the classic board game created by two brothers in India, cut off the service for U.S. and Canadian Internet users on Tuesday after Hasbro filed suit in a New York federal court last Thursday.
Scrabulous, introduced on Facebook a year ago, has become a phenomenon, sucking productivity in offices and schools around the globe. The game has become one of Facebook's dozen most actively used programs, attracting 500,000 daily players. It pits online opponents who compete to come up with clever words using the most exotic letters to score points.
Hasbro owns the rights to Scrabble in North America, while rival Mattel owns the rights to the popular board game in the rest of the world. Mattel filed a suit against Scrabulous several months ago and is awaiting a decision on its complaint by an Indian court.