I found this on a Trademark Blog. Apparently someone has created an online game in conjuction with Google Maps that bears a close resemblance to the board game RISK. Authorized online versions of RISK were created in 1996 and 2000. I tried to find a version of the online game, but it has since been shutdown due in main part to the following cease and desist letter sent by counsel for Hasbro (the owner of both Copyright AND Trademarks associated with RISK). Hasbro's counsel claimed the game infringed trademark because it led to consumer confusion as to Hasbro's authorization, association, or sponsorship of the game. Counsel further claimed dilution would occur as to RISK's source-identifying mark if the online game continued.
The creator of the game ASOOJ on Google Maps have been requesting ideas on how to change the game to avoid trademark and copyright infringement. Stay tuned to see if a new and improved (and litigation proof) Google Maps game is restored.
Hasbro Defends Irkutsk
Via Slashdot, a demand letter sent to the distributor of a game based on RISK, using Google map:
December 1, 2005
By FedEx and Email
Re: Infringement of Hasbro, Inc.'s RISK Copyrights and Trademark
Dear Mr. ====:
We are counsel for Hasbro, Inc. (.Hasbro.), the owner of the copyrights and trademarks for the famous RISK game. We write concerning the online Risk. game (the "Game.") that you have made available for use in conjunction with Google maps at your website . . . Your Game appears to copy elements of Hasbro's RISK game and rules as well as its trademark. The RISK game, including the rules, is the copyrighted property of Hasbro. Hasbro also owns the trademark rights to the RISK name. Your unauthorized use of the RISK game constitutes copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. 501. Your unauthorized use of the RISK name also violates the federal trademark laws, including 15 U.S.C. 1114(1) and 1125(a), by creating a likelihood of confusion with respect to Hasbro's authorization or sponsorship of or association with your commercial activities. Even if confusion were not likely, your unauthorized use of these elements is likely to dilute the distinctive quality of the RISK game and trademark and hamper their ability to function as source-identifying marks in violation of 15 U.S.C. ï¿½ 1125(c) and numerous state anti-dilution laws.
We therefore demand that you immediately cease and desist from any further use of the RISKï¿½ game and mark by removing the Game and all references to it from your website.
Please confirm to me in writing as soon as possible, and in any event within ten (10) days of receipt of this letter your agreement to the above. This letter does not purport to be a complete statement of the facts or the law and is without prejudice to Hasbro.s legal and equitable rights.