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Riot Games sues mobile game developer for producing alleged League of Legends knockoffs

Riot Games sued a Chinese mobile game company for alleged copyright infringement.
Riot Games sued a Chinese mobile game developer on Thursday for alleged copyright infringement.

Riot Games has filed a lawsuit against Shanghai Moontoon Technology, a mobile game developer, for alleged copyright infringement of League of Legends, Riot’s intellectual property.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in the Central District Court of California, Riot argued that Moontoon has knowingly infringed on the copyright for League of Legends in the form of multiple mobile games. The lawsuit points out three games: Magic Rush: Heroes, Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA, and Mobile Legends: Bang bang that have “a vast array of elements that were directly and deliberately appropriated from LoL, including but not limited to LoL’s characters, artwork, map designs, and unit and monster designs.”

The lawsuit also alleges that upon being contacted by Riot about the games, Moontoon engaged in “overt gamesmanship,” making modest changes to the game while keeping the majority of the properties largely the same.

A notable incident laid out near the beginning of the lawsuit was when Riot claims to have notified the Google Play store, where users could download Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA, Moontoon removed the game from the store, but without warning or notification to neither Riot or Google, later re-uploaded the exact same game with some minor changes under a new name, Mobile Legends: Bang bang.

The 44-page page document also includes pictures of the characters and their abilities, which were allegedly taken wholesale from League of Legends, which is served as evidence of the infringement.

UPDATE (2:27 p.m. ET): A paragraph about Riot Games’ knowledge of the named defendants in the lawsuit was removed upon further information being presented.

UPDATE (10:22 a.m. ET Tuesday): The Mobile Legends Facebook page issued a statement calling the report “unreal,” and saying the game was developed by Moontoon independently with intellectual property rights. It made no mention the lawsuit. Below is the full statement:

Recently, some media have published negative and unreal reports against Mobile Legends. Here is the statement of Moontoon:

Mobile Legends is a MOBA game that is developed by Moontoon independently, and its copyright has already been registered and protected in multiple countries all over the world. Moontoon has independent intellectual property rights.

Mobile Legends and all of the users will not be affected by these unreal reports and we will keep providing the best gameplay experience to players all over the world.

Meanwhile, for some media and competitors who have spread the unreal information and rumors against us, we reserve the right to protect ourselves and pursue legal actions.

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