Hex Shards of FateCryptozoic has filed with the federal district court in Washington its answer to WOTC’s suit over Hex: Shards of Fate. Not surprisingly, the answer by Cryptozoic paints a very different picture than the complaint by Wizards.

Recall that WOTC alleges infringement of copyright, trade dress, and patents related to Magic: The Gathering. Cryptozoic’s reply [PDF], however, leads off with the bold statement:

Fearing competition in the trading card game industry, and frantic about the loss of its monopoly position due to the expiration of its patent two months ago, Wizards seeks to eliminate Hex: Shards of Fate through litigation rather than fair marketplace competition. Wizards is understandably concerned about the success and significant support Hex: Shards of Fate enjoys in a community yearning for innovation. Wizards’ Amended Complaint relies, in substantial part, on the hearsay allegations of unknown bloggers. The confused, vague, and egregious allegations in that Amended Complaint constitute a blatant attempt to use the legal process to achieve market dominance and eliminate a competitor which is creating truly competitive and innovative products.

Cryptozoic contends that Wizards of the Coast has improperly disguised a patent argument as a copyright claim, explaining that the issues raised are ones of function, not expression.

On the subject of trade dress, Cryptozoic argues that the question is whether the design of Hex cards creates confusion in the marketplace. Cryptozoic further points out that even the bloggers that WOTC quotes as comparing the two games clearly know the difference.

Finally, with respect to WOTC’s patent infringement allegation, Cryptozoic notes that the patent expired in June. At best, the company argues, any infringement was brief and represents minimal value.