10 May 2022CopyrightAlex Baldwin

Riot sues ByteDance unit over ‘League of Legends’ ‘clone’

“League of Legends” developer Riot Games has sued ByteDance-owned mobile game developer Shanghai Moonton Technology for “blatantly” copying its flagship game.

Following the US release of the mobile version of “League of Legends”, entitled “League of Legends: Wild Rift” in October 2020, Moonton was “eager to mimic Riot’s massive success” and released multiple games that contained infringing content, the US developer claims.

Riot first became aware that one of Moonton’s games “Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA” infringed copyrights related to League of Legends. Riot notified Google of the infringement and the game was subsequently removed from the Google Play storefront.

However, Moonton later released a “tweaked version” of Mobile Legends called “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang” that also infringes Riot’s copyrights, and continues to update the game with assets “regularly copied” from its “Wild Rift” game, the lawsuit claims.

The complaint, filed Monday, May 9, at the US District Court for the Central District of California, highlights several gameplay, character, marketing, and artistic similarities between “Wild Rift” and Montoon’s title.

Since its listing on the Google Play Store, “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang” has been installed more than 500 million times, the lawsuit claims.

To back up its infringement claims, riot cites “countless” threads, videos, and forums discussing Moonton’s game referring to it as a “copy-cat,” “knock off,” and “shameless” “rip-off” of Riots IP.

The lawsuit also claims that the infringement extends past the content of “Mobile Legends” itself, arguing that various promotional materials, trailers and even related esports content have been copied from Riot. Specifically, it cites certain cinematic trailers that look “nearly identical” to Riots.

“These tactics indicate that Moonton is watching Riot carefully, waiting for Riot to make its next move, and then intentionally and overtly copying Riot to trade on Riot’s creativity… there is no part of Riot’s creative output that Moonton is not willing to copy,” the complaint says.

Riot seeks a ruling that its “League of Legends” copyrights are valid and infringed by Montoon, and asks the court to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction barring the Chinese developer from infringing its IP as well as damages.

This is the second lawsuit Riot has filed this year targeting an allegedly infringing competitor. In January, the company sued a Singapore-based game developer Imba Technology, claiming that its title "I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight" copied many aspects of “League of Legends”.

Riot had previously sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Singaporean company but Imba denied infringement, Reuters reported.

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