The Story of Anti - Monopoly 

We ecourage you to visit the Anti-Monopoly site after reading this story.

In 1974, Ralph Anspach, a San Francisco State University Economics professor, invented a game in which players attacked big business monopolies. Appropriately, he named it Anti-Monopoly after being assured by lawyers that this title was not an infringement of the Monopoly trademark because the "anti" added to "monopoly" would prevent confusion between Anti-Monopoly and Monopoly. Anspach set up a family-size company in which he is the President, published the game on his own, and it became an instant best seller.

General Mills, the 57th largest corporation in the nation, which had bought Parker Brothers and MONOPOLY, reacted angrily and insisted that it owned not only the brand name "monopoly" but also anything close to that word. They had already stopped Catholic laymen from marketing a game called Theopoly and blacks from marketing Black Monopoly and, now, Parker Brothers ordered Anti-Monopoly to get out of its way even though its name was the opposite of Monopoly. Anti-Monopoly did not cave in. Monopoly attacked and a bitter legal war ensued which lasted for a decade. A federal district judge, Spencer Williams, ruled for Monopoly twice and banned Anti-Monopoly from the market for six of those ten years. But Anti-Monopoly fought back, won two appeals, and ultimately beat Monopoly at the United States Supreme Court level.

During the lawsuit war, a half a million Anti-Monopoly games were sold but another 40,000 were buried in a Minnesota garbage dump after one of the lower court miscarriages of justice. But Anti-Monopoly refused to cave in to injustice and the big business juggernaut. Its resolve hardened when Anspach's investigations revealed that the people who were accusing Anti-Monopoly of infringement of their rights were involved in the theft of the Monopoly game from its inventors and the public domain.

Anspach also discovered that this original theft led to a successful scheme to monopolize the stolen game, something which cost you the consumer more than a billion dollars. He also discovered that the perpetrators of the scheme had fabricated a bogus story about the origins of Monopoly to cover up their doings and that the American public was then duped into elevating the bogus history into a famous American legend.

The book written by Ralph Anspach is called, The Billion Dollar Monopoly & Swindle: During a David and Goliath Battle, Anti-Monopoly Uncovers the Secret History of Monopoly. It tells for the first time the full story of how the little guy overcame the odds and describes the detective work which uncovered the true story of Monopoly.


  1997-2000 Discover Games, All Rights Reserved