David Wexler, the son of the inventor of Connect 4, has sued Hasbro for allegedly stealing his invention of a new line of toys that combined games and toys controlled by Hasbro.
David is a renowned entertainment interest veteran who has had substantial critical acclaim and success as a director, screenwriter and producer of films, television and commercials. David is also actively engaged in inventing and developing concepts and ideas for toys and games.
David’s father, Howard Wexler, is the inventor of Connect 4, which has been licensed to Hasbro and its predecessors for decades and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. Connect 4 is only one of the more than 120 ideas that Howard has licensed to Hasbro and other toy and game companies over the last 50 years. Hasbro is the home of many of the most successful and famous games in the world – Monopoly, Scrabble, Connect 4, Trouble, Jenga, Yahtzee, Twister.
There’s a custom and practice in the toy industry that inventors share their inventions and ideas with toy companies based on the promise that if a company uses one of their inventions or ideas the company will pay the inventor a royalty, generally 5%, of the revenue generated by the game.
Between 2007 and 2015, David repeatedly presented Hasbro with his invention that Hasbro should create a collection of Mash-Ups of Hasbro classic games and toys, new games that combine the trademarks, gameplay, style and artwork of two classic Hasbro games or toys into a single game or toy. As explained in an Inventor Review Record prepared by Hasbro’s product development team when David first presented his invention, the idea was to “combine different Hasbro brands like songs.” In addition to the general idea, David presented Hasbro with fully developed Mash-Ups concepts, including detailed explanations of gameplay and artwork, specific examples of new games combining more than a dozen Hasbro classics that could be included in a Hasbro Mash-Ups line.
While claiming to have rejected his idea, in around 2016, Hasbro began to develop a line of Mash-Ups, whichit began selling, at the latest, in 2019 while refusing to pay David a royalty. Hasbro even used the Mash-Ups name, conceived of by David, for the line of combined Hasbro games.
Hasbro’s game mash+ups have been a commercial success. After being initially offered exclusively at Target in 2019, game mash+ups are now widely available, including at Walmart and on Amazon. game mash+upsare generating millions of dollars in revenues for Hasbro and are expected to generate substantially more in revenues as a result of, among other things, their broader availability and the addition of more games to the game mash+ups collection.
Incredibly, Hasbro has even copied one of the specific game combinations suggested by David using his father’s game – Connect 4 and Nerf — and not included it in the game mash+ups collection or paid David for using his invention.
The lawsuit documents these claims further.