Fantasy Flight Publishing, owner of the war strategy board game BattleLore, has filed suit against European company, Puffin Software, for copyright infringement and unfair competition. Puffin allegedly sells a computerized version of a game almost identical to BattleLore online, through Apple’s App Store and its own website. According to the complaint, BattleLore was created by famous board game designer, Richard Borg, and Fantasy Flight acquired all copyrights in the BattleLore game from him in September 2008. Fantasy Flight registered its copyright to the game with the Copyright Office on June 15, 2011, one month before filing this suit.
According to Fantasy Flight, Puffin through its owner Johannes Paivinen, created the electronic game “Viking Lords” as an iPad version of BattleLore under a different name. Fantasy alleges that Paivinen previously admitted as much in public, and that the substantial similarity between the games was likely to lead to confusion in the marketplace. Fantasy goes on to say in its complaint that it is common for many board games, like Monopoly and Scrabble, to launch online versions, and the average consumer, familiar with this practice, is likely to confuse Viking Lords with the board game BattleLore because they are nearly identical, though in different mediums. In addition, Fantasy Flight asserts that its BattleLore game is highly successful, and has a large following both online, and in the real world, making confusion all the more likely.