League of Legends players and eSports fans the world over will be more than familiar with the growing number of mobile MOBA knockoffs. Advertised aggressively on League of Legends video content, the games have evolved from a nuisance to a serious threat; Riot Games is now taking legal action to put a stop to it.
Riot Games has filed a lawsuit against mobile game developer Shanghai Moonton Technology, for the copyright infringement of League of Legends evident within the companies Mobile Legends game. Riot feel that their intellectual property has been directly copied within the mobile game.
The lawsuit, filed in the Central District Court of California, expresses Riot’s claim that Moonton has knowingly infringed the copyright for League of Legends to produce multiple mobile games for profit.
The lawsuit outlines that the three games in question – Magic Rush: Heroes, Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA, and Mobile Legends: Bang bang – each feature “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 details that despite being contacted by Riot about the copyright infringement featured in their games, Moonton engaged in “overt gamesmanship”, making cosmetic alterations to the game, without removing the majority of the offending features.
Despite the weight behind Riot’s allegations, Moonton has dismissed the lawsuit and any related negative reports about its games, describing it as “unreal information and rumors.” in a public response:
The lawsuit contains a number of side-by-side comparisons between League of Legends and Moonton’s mobile games, hoping to clearly highlight the copyright infringement to a jury, should the case go to court.
Riot have lined up several aspects of Moonton’s games against their League of Legends derivatives, including the map, characters, logos, text, minion system, objectives, structures, and more. Despite their plea of innocence, certain examples appear to be concrete evidence of copyright infringement.
The 44-page page document contains numerous examples similar to the two listed above, exemplifying the manner in which Riot Games’ intellectual property was ripped and emulated within Moonton’s mobile equivalents.
The lawsuit is by no means Riot’s first attempt to shut down Moonton’s mobile MOBA games. The document references an incident prior to the legal case, whereby the game developer notified the Google Play store of the issue.
Moonton acted by removing the game from the store, but then re-uploaded the exact same game, only this time with minor changes and a new name: Mobile Legends: Bang Bang to act as a facade.
Riot Games believes that Moonton has made upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars – potentially millions of dollars – by directly copying the game design of League of Legends.