Twitter is ablaze today with the news that Wizards of the Coast, creator of monster Magic: The Gathering, has filed a lawsuit against Cryptozoic for “willful infringement of intellectual property rights.” The press release is quite small considering the bomb it dropped but it’s easy to gather that Wizards of the Coast are a little afraid of some competition.
Cryptozoic’s “World’s First MMO Trading Card Game (TCG)” labeled Hex: Shards of Fate is currently in Closed BETA. Meanwhile, Wizards of the Coast is working on Magic Online, both are of the new genre labeled “Digital Trading Card Games.”
Similarities? What Similarities?
While the engine used by Hex is the same engine used for Magic Online, sources tell me that the patent has run out. The original patent placed with the U.S. Government was done in 1997, patents normally have 14 year durations, making it expired in 2011 (Disclaimer: Not a lawyer.) While the card system may appear similar it’s hard to create a new system for a TCG. It would be like World of Warcraft suing every major MMORPG after it because there were similar aspects (like a UI interface or white tiger mounts or the warrior class!)
The two interfaces do not appear to look anything alike (perhaps I am biased but I do prefer Hex’s!) And Hex has some defining features like the resource card system, gem charges for Champions and even Champions themselves.
Interestingly enough, Barbara Finnigan, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Hasbro says; “…while we appreciate a robust and thriving trading card game industry, we will not permit the misappropriation of our intellectual property.”
Which leaves many Hex players wondering, is this just a ploy to stop a major competitor or is there any weight to this? What do you think? Post in the comments section below!