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PAWTUCKET, RI (CAP) - Toy-making giant Habro announced today that it was filing a lawsuit in federal court to force George Bush and members of his former administration to stop using its "trademarks, logos, and other intellectual properties" immediately.
"Not to be cute about it, but we do have a monopoly on Monopoly," said lead attorney Greg D'Angelo. "The former administration is engaging in a blatant abuse of copyright, and we just want them to stop."
The lawsuit seeks to compel Bush and other former federal officials to stop using custom-printed "Chance" cards, which are included in every edition of Hasbro's iconic Monopoly board game.
Aides to the former president admit to altering one of the cards from the White House's copy of the game and making several hundred copies of it to give away to employees, political donors, and friends.
"They went out in Christmas cards mostly, although some members of the administration sought to sweeten their future fortunes by wrapping resumes around them and sending them that way," said one former mid-level aide to President Bush.
"And the thing is, they're completely legit, according to the lawyers," noted the aide. "The President signed the back of each one, making them legally-binding pre-pardons."
Legitimate or not, Hasbro is not waiting for a legal challenge to see the cards either destroyed or licensed. In addition to their lawsuit again Bush, the toy company has also filed a cease and desist order against the online auction site eBay. Two auctions on the site have seen the cards fetching upwards of $10,000 a piece.
"While I realize that most of us would love to be able to kill someone, flash a card and go on our merry way, Hasbro cannot allow its property to be used in such a manner," D'Angelo said. "At least, not without just compensation.
"We refused several times to let them print up and distribute our money for free," D'Angelo added, "so I'm not sure why they would think other elements of our Monopoly game would be any different."
A probably cause hearing to consider the case's merits has been set for early next week.
- Rich Gray