Facebook removes Scrabulous in UK after Mattel complaint

LONDON - Scrabulous, the unofficial online version of the Scrabble board game, has been removed from Facebook in the UK and most of the rest of the world after Mattel, the owner of the game outside the US and Canada, made a formal request for removal.

The popular application was taken off the social networking site in the US and Canada last month after Hasbro filed a lawsuit against game designers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla of India for trademark and copyright infringement.

The brothers agreed to block Scrabulous in the US and Canada but said that the UK could continue playing.

The Scrabulous application is still available in India, where Mattel has filed a lawsuit claiming it breaches its intellectual property.

Jayant Agarwalla said that he was astonished by Facebook's action given that no decision has been made yet in the Indian court.

Hasbro and Mattel's complaints follow the launch of their own official Facebook version of Scrabble, created by Electronic Arts in the US and Canada and RealNetworks elsewhere.

The Agarwalla brothers have created an alternative word game, similar to Scrabble, called Wordscraper, which they hope will survive legal challenges because it uses new rules and circular tiles.

Scrabulous was played by about 600,000 people on Facebook while Mattel's version only has about 70,000 active users.