The story filled in with more detail.
Ralph Anspach, a San Francisco State University economics professor, invented the Anti-Monopoly® game which is sold now. He had entered the market in 1974 with a game also called Anti-Monopoly which played completely different than the current game. That game was not as successful as the current game because it turned out to be too difficult to understand by the general public. To reach a wider public, he decided to make both games fun to play in the spirit of the great American actor Bill Cosby whose mottoi is “if you don’t watch out, you might learn something.” After having the foriginal Anti-Monopoly turned down by all the established game companies, Anspach set up a family-size company, published the game on his own, and it became an instant best seller.
Now it so happened that Parker Brothers, which owns Monopoly®, had been swallowed up by General Mills, the 57th biggest corporation in the nation. The king of breakfast foods almost lost its Wheaties® when it observed the success of Anti-Monopoly. It informed Anti-Monopoly that it had exclusive rights to the dictionary word monopoly and any title remotely close to it, including its opposite, the dictionary word “anti-monopoly.” General Mills went on rather bluntly that if we didn’t take our game off the market at once, it would crush us. And they were serious. For example, they had already stopped Catholic laymen from marketing a game called Theopoly and a famous black comedian, Geoffrey Chambers, from marketing Black Monopoly. (Before Anspach beat the Monopoly makers in the courts, they also monopolized the suffix “Opoly.”
But Anti-Monopoly did not cave in. A bitter legal war ensued which lasted for a decade. Anti-Monopoly’s resolve hardened when Anspach discovered that the people who were accusing Anti-Monopoly of a far-fetched infringement of their rights were themselves profiting from the theft of the Monopoly game from its inventors and the public domain.. Nevertheless, a federal district judge, Spencer Williams, ruled for Monopoly twice and banned Anti-Monopoly from the market for seven of those ten years. He also ruled that Anspach had to turn over to General Mills his stock of 40,000 Anti-Monopoly games. In a public spectacle, the games were literally buried in a Minnesota garbage dump – as a warning to others who might dare to challenge the Monopoly monopoly.
Spencer Williams, a judge well-known to side with Big Business, was able to do it once again because the case was heard before him without a jury. This disaster happened because the litigator for Anti-Monopoly, Inc. , who preceded the Portia on the case Carl Person, made two procedural concessions to the adversary in order to force Anspach into a settlement favorable to the lawyer’s firm. This turned an easy court victory into 7 years of exclusion from the market which created financial havoc for Anspach and his family including almost losing their home by foreclosure, a house with three mortgages taken to finance the suit. Contrary to the usual Hollwood formula, Anspach’s wife and sons never faltered in their support of the fight against the Monopoly monopolists.
But Anti-Monopoly won two appeals, and ultimately beat Monopoly at the United States Supreme Court level. The courts also validated Anspach’s position on the history of Monopoly. They dumped the official corporate story that Darrow had invented Monopoly in 1932 which meant that the Monopoly business empire had been based on a fraudulent invention patent. They accepted Anspach’s detective work which revealed that Monopoly had been played for many years as a folk game named monopoly, and that its Atlantic City version created by some Atlantic City Quaker teachers had simply been copied by the impostor inventor to be marketed as Monopoly by Parker Brothers. Anspach, a professor of economics calculated that this scam has already cost the consumer more than a billion dollars in Monopoly profits – and not in Monopoly money either.
- – Dr. Ralph Anspach, 2012