Federal Judge Rules Parker Brothers Holds Monopoly Monopoly

Top Headlines


NicoDerm Introduces New Nicotine Eye Patch

PHILADELPHIA—Praising the product as an effective and convenient means of helping individuals quit smoking, pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline announced Wednesday the release of its new NicoDerm eye patch.

Disney World Opens New Ordeal Kingdom For Family Meltdowns

BAY LAKE, FL—Touting the new property’s wide variety of unique and imaginative attractions, representatives from the Walt Disney World Resort announced Monday the opening of Ordeal Kingdom, a new theme park specifically designed for full-scale family meltdowns.

Boss Wants Friendly, Relaxed Company Culture In Place By Friday

SAN MATEO, CA—Warning of severe consequences if he didn’t see results, Pantheon Digital Consulting COO Daniel Abelson, 59, told employees Monday he wants a relaxed, friendly company culture implemented by the end of the week, sources within the organization confirmed.

Coca-Cola Marketing Strategist Named New United States PR Laureate

WASHINGTON—In a ceremony at the White House this morning in which his work was praised for its unique contributions to the art of corporate communications, Coca-Cola marketing strategist Lawrence Shaffer was officially appointed as the new PR laureate of the United States, sources confirmed.

Humanizing Detail Tacked Onto End Of New Board Member’s Bio

NEW YORK—In an effort to portray the recent appointee as something more than a lengthy list of job titles and academic credentials, the bio of new Brickell Capital board of directors member Michael G. Horvath reportedly featured a single humanizing detail tacked onto the very end, sources reported Tuesday.

Never-Before-Heard Buzzword Flying Around Office Can’t Be Good

‘Our Focus Is On Platforming,’ Executives Repeat

BROOKLYN, NY—Speculating that it could refer to some aspect of their website or possibly the sales or advertising department, employees at Convergence Media said Thursday that the word “platforming,” which executives have reportedly used numerous times over the past few weeks, can’t be good.

Best Buy Employee Wearing Different Colored Shirt For Some Reason

‘His Shirt Is Black,’ Confused Customers Say

FAIRFAX, VA—Eyeing the staff member with wariness and confusion, customers at the Fair City Mall Best Buy location confirmed Wednesday that one of the store’s employees was, for some reason, wearing a black shirt rather than a blue one like the rest of his coworkers.

Uber Vs. Taxis

The rise of on-demand car service Uber has been the subject of much scrutiny for its effects on existing local taxi services, with cities unsure how to regulate it and consumers debating which one to use. Here is a side-by-side comparison of these two modes of transportation

Taco Bell To Offer Discreet Purchasing Charged Under ‘TBfoodsLLC’

IRVINE, CA—Aiming to provide customers with an effective and easy way to consume their products free from judgment, Taco Bell officials announced Thursday that patrons at any of the fast food chain’s 5,600 locations will now be given the option to have their purchases appear inconspicuously on credit card and bank statements under the name “TBfoodsLLC.”

Netflix To Temporarily Remove Every Movie Except ‘Hard Eight’

‘Everyone Should See It At Least Once,’ Company Says

LOS GATOS, CA—Saying that everyone, including all 65 million of its subscribers, really ought to see the film at least once, Netflix announced Tuesday that it will suspend all streaming content except Hard Eight for a full month.

Twitter Announces There No Trending Topics Today

‘Maybe Something Will Catch On Tomorrow,’ Social Network Says

SAN FRANCISCO—Noting the lack of any social causes, amusing hashtag games, or major news stories currently stimulating public conversations on their site, Twitter officials announced Monday that there are no trending topics today, but suggested that perhaps something might catch on tomorrow.

CEO Has Big Ideas To Grow Company’s Problems

NEW YORK—Laying out several new initiatives and detailed plans for implementing them in the upcoming weeks and months, Janneson Media CEO Adam Hamlin revealed to his staffers Thursday that he has some really big ideas for growing the company’s problems, sources reported.

45-Minute Phone Call To Credit Card Company Goes Great

FORT WAYNE, IN—Grinning with contentment as he reminisced about the call he placed earlier in the day, 31-year-old accountant Greg Schulhoff told reporters Thursday that his 45-minute phone call with MasterCard regarding late payment fees went “really great.”

Goodwill Executives Arrested After Years Of Skimming Donated Goods Off Top

ROCKVILLE, MD—In what authorities are calling one of the most wide-reaching and deplorable cases of embezzlement in recent history, seven executives at Goodwill Industries International were arrested Thursday for allegedly skimming used clothing, old furniture, small appliances, and thousands of other donated items from the charitable group.

Q-Tips Introduces New Multi-Speed Electric Ear Swab

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ—Saying the product will allow for more efficient and thorough cleaning, representatives from the Unilever corporation announced Tuesday the addition of a multi-function electric ear swab to its longstanding Q-tips line.

New Pre-Sauced Napkins Can Be Thrown Away Straight From Package

CINCINNATI—Describing it as a major time-saver over traditional napkins, Procter & Gamble announced Thursday the release of its new Bounty pre-sauced napkins, which have been expressly designed to be removed from the package and immediately thrown into the trash.

Timeline Of Google’s History

Google recently announced the formation of Alphabet, an umbrella corporation that will separate the company’s internet search business from its forays into robotics, biotechnology, and other areas of innovation. Here are some of the most notable milestones in Google’s 17-year history:

Tips For Cheaper Airfare

Whether the busy travel season, fuel prices, or airline collusion is to blame, airfare is currently very pricey, making traveling more difficult. The Onion walks you through some ways to reduce the cost of flying

Online University Allows Students To Amass Crippling Debt At Own Pace

SAN DIEGO—Touting its wide range of financially ruinous academic programs that can be tailored to meet anyone’s scheduling needs, officials at Enterprise College announced Monday that the online institution is committed to letting students amass a crippling amount of debt at their own individual pace.

Invasive Restaurant Franchise Spreads To Third State

WASHINGTON—Noting that it had already disrupted several natural communities in Kansas and Iowa, officials from the Bureau of Consumer Protection revealed Tuesday that Bonito’s, a highly invasive strain of casual dining restaurant, had recently been spotted in parts of eastern Nebraska.

Listerine Introduces New Mouth Styling Gel

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Announcing that consumers no longer need to settle for plain, drab dental features, Johnson & Johnson unveiled its new line of Listerine mouth styling gels Wednesday.

Executive On Hot Streak With 2 Straight Logical Decisions

CHICAGO—Saying the impressive display of business sense came entirely out of nowhere, employees of public relations agency Davidson Communications confirmed Wednesday that CEO Donald Marshall was on an absolute hot streak after making two straight logical decisions.

McDonald’s Turns 75

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the McDonald’s restaurant chain, which was founded in 1940 as a Southern California barbecue joint and has since expanded to more than 35,000 locations across the globe. Here are some highlights from the company’s history

Corporate Wellness Programs

Following in the footsteps of Google’s new employee meditation program, companies across the country are introducing more wellness initiatives aimed at keeping health care costs down and boosting worker productivity.

The Pros And Cons Of Open-Plan Offices

More companies are remodeling offices to incorporate open-plan layouts in an effort to save money and encourage collaboration, though many employees complain that the setup eliminates privacy and makes it hard to concentrate.

Walmart Vows To Defend Whichever Gays Buy Their Cheap Shit

BENTONVILLE, AR—Despite Governor Asa Hutchinson’s refusal to sign a controversial religious freedom bill that seemed to permit businesses to discriminate against homosexuals, officials from Arkansas-based retailer Walmart announced Wednesday t...
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage


Ugh, This A Place Where Bartenders Wear Bow Tie

PITTSBURGH—Saying they should have known from the moment they walked in the unmarked speakeasy entrance and spotted the extensive wood paneling, customers confirmed Friday that, ugh, this is one of those places where the bartenders all wear bow ties.

Federal Judge Rules Parker Brothers Holds Monopoly Monopoly

WASHINGTON, DC–In a landmark antitrust decision, U.S. District Judge Thomas Nance ruled Monday that Parker Brothers' controlling interest in the popular board game Monopoly constitutes an illegal Monopoly monopoly.

Found guilty of colluding with Hasbro to corner the Monopoly market–undermining the production and sale of similar board games and designing the Monopoly CD-ROM game to "take over" the user's desktop and keep other games from being played–Parker Brothers faces fines of $15,140 and up to three turns in prison.

Rich Uncle Pennybags testifies before a Senate subcommittee on April 3.

In his 62-page ruling, Nance wrote: "In light of the evidence presented–namely, the myriad versions of the Monopoly board game produced, from the first edition to the high-tech Monopoly 2000, as well as the electronic hand-held version, CD-ROM, and video-game editions, all of which are produced or licensed by Parker Brothers–this court has no alternative but to find that a Monopoly monopoly is in effect."

Speaking outside his green plastic Atlantic City office building, lead prosecutor Milton Bradley told reporters: "These Monopoly monopolists have been allowed to park free for way too long, and it's high time they went directly to jail. We're talking about a company so dominant, it has leveraged its board-game success into a multi-tentacled goliath with holdings in railroads, real estate, electric utilities, and water works."

In testimony last Friday, Parker Brothers CEO Rich Uncle Pennybags insisted that his company has never violated antitrust laws at any time.

"Quite simply, we are being punished for being too successful," the mustachioed tycoon told a packed courthouse. "Monopoly is the world's most popular, best-selling board game, and it has become so not through any anti-competitive practices, but simply by being a quality product that people want to buy. Isn't that the way capitalism is supposed to work?"

A row of Parker Brothers-owned hotels in Atlantic City.

In making its case, the prosecution presented evidence of numerous questionable activities on the part of Parker Brothers, including making a series of illegal $200 payoffs to Go-passing associates, operating a grand-opera ticket-scalping ring, and engaging in price-gouging, charging $1275 for a three-minute stay at one of its luxury hotels on Atlantic City's North Carolina Avenue.

Prosecutors also accused Parker Brothers officials of money-laundering, both in offshore accounts and so-called "under the board" money. Parker Brothers attorneys argued that the extra funds were due to a bank error in the company's favor, but prosecutors cited tax forms showing that the company opted to pay a flat income tax, per Atlantic City law, rather than have 10 percent of its gross worth calculated. Receipts for a luxurious diamond ring taxed at $75, presented late in the prosecution phase, proved similarly damaging to the defense.

"Clearly, this is not the squeaky-clean company Mr. Pennybags would have you believe it is," Bradley said. "And while we're on the subject, what about Pennybags himself? How reputable is he? This is, after all, the man who, in 1997, attempted to cover up his second-place finish in some sort of bizarre beauty contest for elderly men."

The Thimble (center) is mobbed by reporters following his April 5 testimony.

The guilty verdict comes at a bad time for Parker Brothers, which is already reeling from plummeting stock, a shrinking market share, and a recent assessment for street repairs on all its buildings. Attorneys for the company attempted to plead insolvency, presenting as evidence numerous face-down title deeds for holdings, but Nance was unmoved.

"From the McDonald's Monopoly game to Monopoly slot machines in Las Vegas to such college-themed games as Michiganopoly and Notre Dameopoly, Monopoly has so thoroughly dominated its arena, it can only be regarded as anti-competitive," Nance wrote in his decision. "No board game should wield this much clout in a free and open marketplace."

Business watchers say the verdict was long overdue.

"Pennybags is one of the most predatory and underhanded figures in the history of the toy-and-game industry," Fortune associate editor Craig Black said. "This guy was literally writing his own rule book. He stabbed everyone in the back to get the world's most popular board game all to himself, and once he did, it was like a license to print his own money."

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close