The parent company of Riot Games called Tencent Holdings, have won a lawsuit against the developers of Mobile Legends, called Shanghai Moonton Technology Corporation. According to Dot Esports, Tencent sued Moonton for copyright infringement and have been awarded a total of 19.4 million RMB (Chinese yuan) which roughly translates to $2.9 million.
Originally it was Riot that sought to sue the company and tried to do so in California last year, however, the case was dismissed on grounds of forum non conviens which basically means that the court stated that the case would be better pursued in a different court, in this case, it meant filing the lawsuit in Shanghai. Tencent then followed-up by suing the company in the court in Shanghai which ultimately led to the settlement of 19.4 million RMB that has to be paid to Tencent.
It’s not hard to understand why Riot decided to sue Mobile Legends last year. The game is a blatant copy of League of Legends. There are tons of MOBA games on the market nowadays that draw inspiration from League of Legends, or even copy certain elements, but no game did it as blatantly obvious as Mobile Legends. The developers clearly put no effort into hiding the fact that they were copying everything from League of Legends. The map is the same, the champions are the same and even the logo is extremely similar.
Copyright infringement is quite abundant in Asian countries. Tons of mobile games come out each year that are just copies of similar popular games on the PC. It’s unsure whether Tencent would have actually sued Mobile Legends if Riot had not tried to do so in the first place. However, Tencent is also suing Mobile Legends for copyright infringement of their mobile MOBA game called Arena of Valor. As of writing, any other information on this court case is currently unknown.
The lawsuit will serve as a great example that game developers can’t just copy League of Legends and release it on a mobile phone anymore. It might be a start of copyright being taken more seriously in Asia, especially regarding video games.