Netease calls PUBG Corp’s copyright lawsuit ‘shameless’, Riot and Tencent win non-compete lawsuit against alleged cloner

    
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It couldn't happen to a game more... this.

Remember back in April, when Korea-based PUBG Corp. accused China-based Netease of ripping off PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with its battle royale titles Knives Out (which is making bank) and Rules of Survival, and subsequently lodged a lawsuit against it in the US courts? Then remember when Netease threatened to sue everybody who cloned it and PUBG dropped its other lawsuit against Epic Games?

Netease has responded to PUBG Corp.’s complaint against it with a motion to dismiss, predictably arguing that no company is entitled to ownership of an entire genre like battle royale and that the copyright act protects only original expression; specifically, it claims PUBC Corp. cannot legally copyright things like game lobbies and health bars.

“This litigation is a shameless attempt by the PUBG Plaintiffs to monopolize the ‘battle royale’ genre of video games and inhibit legitimate competition. Plaintiffs’ copyright claim is premised on alleged similarities in ideas, merger of ideas and expression, scenes a faire, and game rules and mechanics. Copyright does not protect any of these aspects of PUBG’s game. In those few instances where PUBG identifies protectable expression, differences abound—as reflected in the complaint, as well as the works at issue. This is particularly the case for real-world products, such as weapons and vehicles, which PUBG did not create in the first instance, and which are entitled to thin protection, at most. As no discovery can improve PUBG’s position regarding substantial similarity, it is evident now that Plaintiffs’ copyright claim cannot survive.”

Your tax dollars at work!

Meanwhile, Tencent and Riot Games have emerged victorious from their latest lawsuit, this one against the CEO of Moonton Technology, which ran Mobile Legends, purportedly a League of Legends clone. This lawsuit, however, was specifically against the CEO, who Tencent alleged had broken a non-compete/NDA clause in his contract. Tencent pockets nearly $3M US on its win. A secondary copyright lawsuit is yet to be resolved.

Source: Holland Law via GIbiz
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Grave Knight

[…]Netease threatened to sue everybody who cloned it[…]

Wait, that wasn’t satire…?

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Cosmic Cleric

Netease has responded to PUBG Corp.’s complaint against it with a motion to dismiss, predictably arguing that no company is entitled to ownership of an entire genre like battle royale and that the copyright act protects only original expression; specifically, it claims PUBC Corp. cannot legally copyright things like game lobbies and health bars.

Be interesting for the whole industry, if they lose that point.

Didn’t I read earlier that someone had patented game lobbies?

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McGuffn

maybe somebody can get a patent on game lobbies but it isn’t pubg corp unless they bought the copyright to some ancient game. Technically some offline games had lobbies.

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Cosmic Cleric

I can’t remember the details, but I could swear reading here, fairly recently, a MoP story that included talk about someone having a patent on game lobbies. My GoogleFu didn’t find anything though.

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Sally Bowls

Patents are different than copyrights.

You can sue a company because:

* they are using stolen code/assets

* they are using people/ideas from NDAs (Oculus) or Non-compete(Ark)

* violating a copyright with too close of look-and-feel – you can not copyright the idea of a dragon in your game but you can’t use an expression of a dragon that looks too similar to an expression of a dragon another company has copyrighted.

* the ideas/processes/algorithms are patented.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2013/09/03/the-patent-troll-crisis-is-really-a-software-patent-crisis/?utm_term=.02f2b7e605db

Over 5,000 firms were named as defendants in patent troll lawsuits in 2011, costing them over $29 billion out-of-pocket. Today’s patent trolls are wreaking damage on a scale not seen in the past. And there’s a specific reason for this: The last two decades saw a dramatic increase in the number of patents on software, and these patents are particularly prone to abuse, both by trolls and by other types of patent holders.

Tim Lee wrote about a recent study from the Government Accountability Office found that a disproportionate share of patent litigation concerns software patents. The non-partisan government agency found that the number of defendants in patent lawsuits more than doubling from 2007 through 2011. Notably, this increase is specifically related to software patents — software patents account for 89% of the increase,

Obviously, in California and Europe, you can also sue a company because they are successful. :-)

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McGuffn

You can also sue if they put the word “scroll” in the title.

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McGuffn

Somebody can say they have a patent on whatever. Doesn’t make it so.