Moonton wins £28,000 in commercial defamation suit against Tencent

10 October 2022


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Moonton Games, the developer of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, has won a commercial defamation lawsuit against technology conglomerate Tencent in China settled on October 6th.

Legal documents seen by Esports Insider confirm that the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court ruled in favour of Moonton Games in the suit. As a result, Tencent will compensate for economic losses and expenses that total up to 220,000 yuan (~£28,000). 

According to the court document translated by Esports Insider, Tencent, through its Indonesian attorney, sent warning letters to Moonton’s partners in Indonesia. This notably included esports platform RevivalTV in September 2018. The letter referred to Tencent’s 19.4m yuan (~£2.45m) lawsuit against Moonton’s CEO Xu Zhenhua in China and claimed that the CEO violated trade secrets to develop MLBB’s game software.

However, as the court document highlighted, the dispute was a labour case involving Xu Zhenhua’s contract at Tencent, which included a non-compete clause during his tenure. Moonton’s CEO was an employee at Tencent when he founded the company in 2014.

Despite Tencent’s successful lawsuit against the CEO, which highlighted similarities between the two titles, there was no decision made on whether Xu Zhenhua violated trade secrets. As a result, Moonton filed this lawsuit for commercial defamation regarding the warning letters sent in Indonesia. 

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Moonton is currently embroiled in a separate legal battle with Tencent in the US. In May 2022, Tencent filed a lawsuit against the MLBB developer for copyright infringement. In short, the lawsuit details that Moonton has copied various parts of Riot Games’ League of Legends and Wild Rift titles. Some of the examples provided by Tencent include similarities between both games’ title artwork and playable characters.  

According to the documents, Tencent is required to issue a public statement apologising to Moonton over the defamation case. However, Esports Insider has been unable to confirm whether or not this has already happened.

Tom Daniels
Tom has been part of Esports Insider's team since October 2020 and is currently the platform's Editor. When not playing Football Manager, he enjoys reporting on the mobile esports scene as well as the betting sector.