Blizzard sues Chinese mobile games studio for Warcraft infringement

    
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Blizzard sues Chinese mobile games studio for Warcraft infringement

Chinese mobile game studio Lilith Games is the target of a new lawsuit by Blizzard Entertainment for allegedly infringing on copyrighted material from the Warcraft universe. Lilith’s DOTA Legend, also known as Soul Clash, features rocket-riding goblins, blue Elves, and hefty minotaurs.

The suit was filed with the Taipei District prosecutor’s office. Blizzard COO Paul Sams said that such a move was necessary to protect IP rights: “We strongly believe that DOTA Legend infringes on our Warcraft and World of Warcraft copyrights and trademarks, and we are aggressively pursuing our options under the law to protect our content.”

In a bizarre twist, Lilith turned around and levied a lawsuit against US developer uCool for cloning DOTA Legend and passing it off as the title Heroes Charge. DOTA Legend is incredibly popular, climbing to the top of the region’s charts and accumulating as much as $1M per day of revenue.

[Source: Game Politics, Good Gear Guide, Pocket Gamer]

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Saerain
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Saerain

AdeptusEnginus Mind Flayer See this “making of” article by Warcraft producer Patrick Wyatt: https://archive.today/20140126153719/http://kotaku.com/5929157/the-making-of-warcraft-part-1#_ga=1.226521439.31322122.1429611472
“Allen Adham hoped to obtain a license to the Warhammer universe to try to increase sales by brand recognition. Warhammer was a huge inspiration for the art-style of Warcraft, but a combination of factors, including a lack of traction on business terms and a fervent desire on the part of virtually everyone else on the development team (myself included) to control our own universe nixed any potential for a deal. We had already had terrible experiences working with DC Comics on ‘Death and Return of Superman’ and ‘Justice League Task Force’, and wanted no similar issues for our new game.”

MewmewGirl
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MewmewGirl

Mind Flayer If you look close at the characters you see they super copied World of Warcraft.  They didn’t just make their own versions of Minotaurs, Elves, Goblins, etc, they copied the exact designs of WoW’s unique versions of those things.  And those are the characters they push out front when they show people the game in the App stores and on web pages and such, making the game look as if it’s connected to WoW and boosting their own popularity because of it.  It’s a lot more than just the Minotaur that you noticed yourself, they take specific unique things WoW came up for for a great many characters and blatantly stole them and put them in their game.

ottermated
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ottermated

moizeus6 No, but Blizzard can sue when someone uses Illidan, Sylvannis, even a space marine named “Jimmy” after Blizzard’s Jim Raynor. It’s not about elves and dwarves. It’s about using 100% carbon copies of specific characters.

Mythology is public domain and open to welcome interpretation. Specific fictional characters from movies, books, and games should not be cloned.

CosmicGuitars
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CosmicGuitars

Mind Flayer You might want to look deeper at their character roster. The majority are pretty blatant copies of blizzard designs. They even refer to some of them by their original names in the URLs. http://www.dotarena.com/docs/heroes

AdeptusEnginus
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AdeptusEnginus

moizeus6 CosmicGuitars Siphaed DOTA2’s art style is in and of itself heavily inspired by Warcraft. The characters in DOTA2 were heavily influenced by their counterparts in the original DOTA Allstars custom map for Wacraft 3, which were themselves utilizes assets from the game it was created in. This game is ripping off DOTA charaacters, and is by proxy ripping off Blizzard.

In almost all cases they are ripping off the DOTA Allstars varient of the character, as opposed to the DOTA2 variant.

http://www.playdota.com/heroes/axe

Also, that character does not resemble Tiny. Tiny is actually a pretty original design that does not much resemble his original incarnation. That character on the other hand, does resemble his original incarnation: Stone Giant.

http://www.playdota.com/heroes/stone-giant

The overwhelming majority of these characters are ripping off blizzard characters.

http://www.dotarena.com/docs/hero/id/46 This is obviously a Demon Hunter. Its DOTA equivalent is Anti-Mage. 

http://www.dotarena.com/docs/hero/id/27 This is obviously an Orc Blademaster Its DOTA Equivalent is Juggernaut.

http://www.dotarena.com/docs/hero/id/42 This is obviously a Death Knight, complete with obviously wielding Frostmourne. Its DOTA equivalent is Lord of Avernus.

http://www.dotarena.com/docs/hero/id/34 This is obviously a troll berserker. Its DOTA equivalent is Sacred Warrior.

If you want an example that isn’t tied to DOTA, http://www.dotarena.com/docs/hero/id/48 this is obviously a Starcraft Space Marine.

The only legitimate instance in this roster that seems to be stealing from DOTA 2 is http://www.dotarena.com/docs/hero/id/3 which is obviously based upon DOTA2’s design for the character. The reason for this is likely that Lina in the original DOTA was actually Lina Inverse from the anime Slayers.

http://static.zerochan.net/Lina.Inverse.full.829187.jpg

http://www.playdota.com/heroes/slayer

The company was probably more concerned about being caught if they ripped off something that came from the far eastern region.

Either way, it is still infringement of Blizzard’s designs and assets.

AdeptusEnginus
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AdeptusEnginus

Mind Flayer AdeptusEnginus I already stated that. The history is not history, it is rumor. It has never been confirmed by a reliable source.

Mind Flayer
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Mind Flayer

So… a few of the characters look like chibi versions of WoW characters, but the vast majority don’t.
I dunno, Blizzard doesn’t necessarily own the rights to Minotaurs, Elves, and Panda-people, so this may be a bit of a stretch on their part.
…or at least it would be if that Minotaur wasn’t carrying a frickin’ totem pole. That’s pretty Blizzard specific.  lol

MaxSand
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MaxSand

They do look like Chibi versions of WoW characters. Granted the archetypes of Elves, dwarves, and other fantasy tropes are obviously ancient. Chinese courts are fairly inconsistent with trademark cases, especially with US based IP’s. This could go either way. I can’t blame Blizz, they have to try and protect their cash cow to some degree.

Obviously warcraft was heavily influenced by Warhammer. The problem with making that argument is that GW is notoriously litigious about its properties, so they are keeping with tradition of doing what GW does. Trademark and copyright law is generally out of date, at best, but with the system that is in place, giant companies are going to sue over IP because they can use it as a tool to protect it. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it’s outright bullying(Scrolls? Saga? Are you kidding?) and other times, like this, it is somewhere in between. Interesting to see if Blizz wins, if they will just get a check or if the game will be forced to shut down(in US law, the latter would be all but a guarentee, but in China it has gone both ways.) We shall see I suppose.

Mind Flayer
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Mind Flayer

AdeptusEnginus This implies that you don’t know about the history.  That Warcraft was originally going to be a Warhammer game before GW pulled back on the deal.  So Blizzard changed a few details and poof, Warcraft.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

FlyinDutchman agemyth aboomwithaview Exact same story? That’s not even exactly the same as Warcraft 3, and what you just gave is an insanely selective, high level summary of basic parts of that series.
You’re really, really stretching.