Excerpt from the Judgment

We have already held that the district court placed too heavy a burden on Anti-Monopoly, inc. Moreover, the court’s reference to Darrow as the inventor or creator of the game is clearly erroneous. The record shows, as we stated in Anti-Monopoly I, that “the game of ‘Monopoly’ was first played from 1920 to 1932 on various college campuses by a small group of individuals, many of whom were related by blood or marriage.

In late 1932 or early 1933 one of these players introduced Charles Darrow to the game, and gave him a handmade game board, rules and associated equipment. Immediately thereafter Darrow commenced commercially producing and selling ‘Monopoly’ game equipment.” 611 F.2d at 299. We have re-examined the entire record on appeal. Here is what it shows:

At some time between 1904 and 1934, the game of monopoly developed. Early equipment was handmade and copied from earlier handmade equipment. All the witnesses presented by Anti-Monopoly insisted that the game was known as “monopoly” by all who played it, although in most cases the name did not appear on the board itself. The game was played in Reading, Pennsylvania, sometime between 1911 and 1917, but this date may be a little early.

In the early 1920s the game was played in Princeton University, Massachusetts institute of technology, Smith College, the university of Pennsylvania and Haverford College. On occasion the rules were privately printed. The game was offered to, but rejected by, Milton-Bradley, a leading competitor of Parker brothers. It was played in and around Reading, Pennsylvania from the early 1920s to the early 1930s. It may have been brought there from the University of Pennsylvania. Players in Reading made up and sold some half dozen sets of equipment at Williams College and the University of Michigan.

The game next appeared in Indianapolis, where some players marketed it under the name “Finance” (Players in Reading sold some of those games, too). The game of monopoly was brought to Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1931 or thereabouts. The street names used in the games were then changed to Atlantic City street names. The game was taught to Darrow. He sold it to Parker brothers in 1935, claiming it was his own invention. Parker Brothers also bought the Finance game from it owners.

It is true that Darrow, in his correspondence with Parker Brothers, claimed to have invented the game and offered to sign an affidavit stating his story. However, Robert B. M. Barton, the former president of Parker Brothers, who negotiated with Darrow in 1935, testified that he did not believe Darrow’s claim.


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