Ex-Wife Demands Rights to Monopoly Patents
SACRAMENTO (CN) - An inventor claims in court that her ex-husband cheated her of rights to 14 patents that helped turn the board games Monopoly, Battleship and Yahtzee into casino video games.
Sally Perrie sued Kenneth Allan Perrie on Aug. 8 in Federal Court. They are the only parties to the lawsuit. They will be referred to by their first names in this article, to distinguish them.
The Perries were married from 1982 until 1994. During that time, Sally says, her husband worked in the casino industry, and they formed a company called Gaming Concepts to develop electronic and cable games for casinos.
"In or around the mid to late 1980's, on a trip to Toys R Us together, Sally Perrie suggested to Kenneth Allan Perrie that they use popular board games as a basis for casino games," the complaint states.
"From that time forward, their business efforts were increasingly directed toward the adaptation of popular board games for use as table or electronic casino games.
"Their efforts eventually gave rise to patentable inventions referenced herein as the
Yahtzee Patents, the Battleship Patents and the Monopoly Patents."
Kenneth moved to the East Coast in 1992 and Sally stayed home with their daughter in Nevada.
In 1991, Sally says, she and her husband went to the East Coast to visit the offices of Milton Bradley, "to pitch their concept of electronic and table casino games for a suite of games including Yahtzee, Monopoly, Battleship, Trivial Pursuit, Stratego and Clue."
In that visit, Sally claims, "Milton Bradley representatives expressed initial hesitation, due to the "family nature" of the traditional board games, and expressed especial concern about their 'flagship' Yahtzee.
"In the visit to Milton Bradley's offices, the Perries sought to make Milton Bradley aware of the general threat of video games to traditional board games, and argued that Milton Bradley would need to appeal to a new, electronic generation.
"After an all-day meeting with Milton Bradley, the couple returned home happy that Milton Bradley had not outright rejected the proposal. Numerous friends, relatives and business colleagues heard the reports of the trip and noted the Perries' excitement about the prospects of selling the games, and the increased energy devoted to finalizing the deal."
The Perries spoke "nearly daily" about their prospects, even after they separated, Sally says in the lawsuit.
In 1994, she claims, her husband met (nonparty) Olaf Vancura, a physics professor at Cornell. She says her ex-husband and Vancura then applied for 14 patents on which she had worked with her husband - six Yahtzee patents, six Battleship patents, and two Monopoly patents.
"Sally Perrie did not understand that patents had been filed solely in the names of
Kenneth Allan Perrie and Olaf Vancura, effectively securing ownership away from Sally Perrie, without her being named as an inventor," she says in the complaint.
She seeks an accounting, correction of patents, damages for breach of contract and implied contract, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duties.
She is represented by Carl Schwedler, of Davis.