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Fundex settles trademark suit with game inventor

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Fundex Games Ltd. has given up its rights to the game Chronology as part of its settlement of a trademark-infringement suit brought last March by local inventor Jane Ruemmele.

Ruemmele alleged in her lawsuit that Plainfield-based Fundex had sold numerous copies of the game, but hadn’t provided any royalty statements or payments since October 2008. She also alleged that the company continued to sell the game after its license agreement expired on March 31, 2008.

Ruemmele, a Marion County public defender, first licensed the game in 1995 through a company Fundex acquired in 2007.

In Chronology, players try to place historical events and inventions in their proper place in time. The first player to accumulate 10 cards in calendar sequence wins.
 

Ruemmele Ruemmele

Ruemmele said she was disappointed that she couldn’t strike a new deal with Fundex. “They were local and it would have been an easy way to do business.”

Nevertheless, she’s pleased with other terms of the settlement, and she’s working with a new publisher. Ruemmele hopes to see Chronology back in wide distribution before next Christmas, and possibly in electronic format.

Fundex was going to stop selling the game in any case, attorney Spiro Bereveskos of Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry, LLP said. “We worked out a deal to go our separate ways.”

Chronology is still on the market through Fundex. Ruemmele said the settlement allows the company to sell off what was already in the pipeline.

Notice of the settlement was filed last month in the U.S. District Court of Southern Indiana. Ruemmele declined to disclose financial details.

Fundex settled a similar lawsuit in October with the inventor of Phase 10, the world’s second-best-selling card game.

Michigan inventor Kenneth Johnson had accused the company in December 2008 of copyright infringement, trademark dilution, fraud, conversion and theft.

Details of that settlement were not available. Fundex still has rights to the game, which sells more than 3 million copies a year, second only to Uno.

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