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Court dismisses Riot Games’ copyright infringement claim against Mobile Legends

Riot Games to appeal against the decesion!

Riot Games, the developer behind the biggest games League of Legends and League of Legends: Wildrift has an interesting update regarding their copyright infringement claim against the developer of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, MOONTON. The case was filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California on May 9, 2022. In the ruling of said District Court, the case was dismissed based on the grounds that the parties should settle their differences in China where it was deemed more appropriate.

Riot Games and MOONTON have been in dispute for a long time

The two companies have been in a very colorful history of lawsuits. in 2018, Riot Games has also sued MOONTON Games alleging that they had plagiarized portions of League of Legends. However, in the same matter, a Californian court rejected this case, so they had to take their case to a Chinese court in order to proceed. The $2.9 million lawsuit was won by Tencent Holdings, the parent company of Riot Games and based in China.

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Image by Tencent Games

Court tells Riot Games to take the lawsuit to China

The US District Court for the Central District of California in charge of the case says that the dispute between the two companies should be resolved in China. Riot Games, although a Los Angeles-based company, is still also owned by the Chinese corporation Tencent, whereas Moonton is a Chinese company. With this ground the legal team of Moonton filed a “forum non conveniens” argument, effectively arguing that a different court would be a better site for the trial to be held.

Additionally, The court has also mentioned that Riot and Tencent were waging a two-front fight against Moonton, and he thought it was unreasonable to permit this. Tencent was also bringing separate accusations against MOONTON in China. It is to be noted that Tencent 

Riot Games MOONTON copyright infringement court ruling
Court Ruling

Riot Games’ case was made even worse by the court’s lack of information over whether its parent firm Tencent, a subsidiary company of Riot Games, which has its headquarters in China, or, Riot Games, which is situated in the United States, developed the components of Wild Rift. It is claimed that this information has been essential to MOONTON’s copyright defenses.

Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald iterated that the question is whether or not the situation has changed since 2017. However, since the judge is disappointed with the lack of progress in the parallel China litigation, which is still underway is an indication that Riot was simply just hoping for a second chance without further grounds into the subject.

Both Riot Games and MOONTON have responded to the dismissal of the lawsuit

Following the case’s resolution, Riot Games provided PC Gamer with the following statement:

We strongly disagree with the court’s decision and especially its worrying conclusion that China is an ‘adequate alternative forum’ for a US company to pursue its claims of copyright infringement that occurred in the US. The idea of having US citizens apply for M5 visas to fly overseas in order to ask a Chinese court for relief concerning works that were both created and infringed in the US—defies common sense. On top of that, Moonton’s knock-off game isn’t even available in China. We are exploring all possible options, including an appeal.”

RIOT GAMES

MOONTON’s legal team, Keker, Van Nest & Peters, stated that the parties had been embroiled in long copyright litigation in China that raises many of the same problems Riot is now attempting to re-raise in the US. Continuing in this fashion would have been unjust, ineffective, and redundant.

What are your thoughts on the court’s decision in the copyright infringement lawsuit between Riot Games and MOONTON? Let us know in the comments below!

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