Riot Games targets supposed League of Legends knockoffs in lawsuit

Mobile game developer Shanghai Moonton Technology is in Riot Games‘ sights for allegedly reproducing copyrighted material from Riot’s famous intellectual property, League of Legends.

In the lawsuit filed in California on Thursday, Riot targeted Moonton for a purportedly intentional infringement of copyright in a series of mobile games. The titles in the spotlight are Magic Rush: Heroes, Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA, and Mobile Legends: Bang bang.

Singled out for the “ongoing, willful and bad faith infringement
of Riot’s intellectual property rights”, Moonton are accused of creating multiple applications “designed to trade off Riot’s well-known and valuable intellectual property”.

The accusations levelled at Monton include key features of the games’ architecture. In the lawsuit, Riot describes the copying of elements such as “LoL’s characters,
artwork, map designs, and unit and monster designs”. They also point out how Monsoon has marketed games with logos “confusingly similar” to Riot’s League of Legends logo.

Logos for ‘League of Legends’ alongside Moonton’s ‘Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA’ and ‘Magic Rush: Heroes’ – two of the titles under scrutiny for copyright infringement

Going one step further, Moonton is criticised for engaging in what Riot has dubbed “subterfuge” and “overt gamesmanship” (boldness added for emphasis):

“Moonton not only knows that its conduct is unlawful, but has engaged in overt gamesmanship. Moonton created products that it knew to be infringingwaited to receive an infringement claim from Riot, and in response to that claim made only the most minimal adjustments while continuing to knowingly infringe. Most notably, after Riot discovered Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA and notified Google that the game was infringing, Moonton purported to remove the game from the Google Play store. But that was simply a subterfuge. Immediately after removing Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA, Moonton (without notifying Riot or Google) released a “new” game, Mobile Legends: Bang bang. However, Mobile Legends: Bang bang was not a new game at all, but in fact was the exact same game as Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA, with some modest changes.”

“This ploy of “hide the ball” was part of Moonton’s deliberate business strategy, designed to hamper Riot’s ability to protect its intellectual property. Meanwhile, even though Moonton now has received multiple infringement notices from Riot, it continues to infringe and to profit from its infringement.”

The document, 44 pages long, contains a host of side-by-side screenshots and descriptions to be used as evidence of Shanghai Moonton Technology’s alleged copying.

Esports Insider says: Looking at the evidence, this appears to be as blatant a copying as is fathomable without ripping the code directly from Riot HQ! The success of a lawsuit seems inevitable; the only question remains as to the severity of the punishment.