Patent And Copyright Pitfalls
Author Mary Pilon’s fascinating 33-min book
talk on The Monopolist: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind
the World’s Favorite Board Game is a complex story
with lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs in the 21st century.
It’s a story with many twists and turns that may strain
optic nerves…as in excess eye-rolling.
Elizabeth Magie filed for and received patents in 1903
and again in 1924 for a board game that was to be used
as an educational teaching tool.
Meanwhile, she had twice presented her game to
Parker Brothers but they turned it down…
By 1935, when the artful Charles Darrow sold his idea
to Parker Brothers, the company apparently unaware
of Magie’s earlier submissions to their company.
And unaware that Magie’s teaching tool,
which had become popular with Quakers
and segments of the academic and political community, in different states had a remarkable similarity to Darrow’s latter submission.
Parker Brothers maintained that it learned about the issue
for the first time in 1935, only after questioning Darrow,
who then admitted to having been inspired by a board game
introduced to him by a friend…
Fifty years later, Parker Brothers stated in a lawsuit proceeding
that they had misplaced their copyright documents,
and the historical circumstances would come to light
in the 1970s as a copyright, trademark, anti-trust
and patent fight, according to Carl E. Person, Esq.
Historical facts with modern-day relevance.
How exactly does an aspiring or emerging entrepreneur
protect their ideas from theft?
Elizabeth Magie’s business model did not protect her from
competition and unscrupulous practices. Can you spot at least
three major ways that her position was weakened before
Darrow came on the scene?
Book Discussion on The Monopolists
The New Republic.com
Monopolist Article Review
Robert Barton, 91, Executive Who Bought
Rights to Monopoly
“Hardly anyone realizes the classic board game
Monopoly started as an early feminist’s attack on capitalism…”
History Detective/Monopoly Transcript