The case of David H. Wall vs. Christopher Haney and Scott Abbott may finally be settled.
For those who need a refresher, Wall sued Haney and Abbott, the creators of the Trivial Pursuit board game, in 1994, claiming Haney stole the idea for the game from Wall. Wall was hitchhiking one day when Haney picked him up (or so Wall says) and that’s when Wall apparently laid out in explicit detail how the game would work, enough that Haney stole his idea. Right.
A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge dismissed Wall’s case, pointing out that Wall doesn’t have a single shred of evidence beyond his self-serving testimony to support his claim.
This isn’t the first lawsuit Trivial Pursuit’s creators have faced. In 1984 they were sued by the creator of the Trivia Encyclopedia for copying their questions and answers. They admitted to it (they were caught red-handed copying a made-up question), but argued that facts cannot be copyrighted. A judge agreed and dismissed that case too.
The Trivial Pursuit origin story always interests me because it was created by a CP sports editor and a Gazette photo editor. According to Gazette lore (read: old-timers’ occasional rants), the two went around seeking investors from among their journalistic buddies, and most chose to hold on to their money. The phrase “I could be retired by now” would inevitably follow, along with wet grunts and smoke-filled phlegm.
Now they can go on to regretting the past two and a half decades of their lives.