Blizzard Sues Chinese Devs Over "Massive Infringement" Of Warcraft License
The lawsuit targets a shameless rip-off.
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Blizzard Entertainment is suing a number of companies and individuals involved in the making of the free-to-play PC and mobile game, Glorious Saga. The Overwatch developer alleges that the game is a "massive infringement" of its Warcraft intellectual property, stating that "they created a game whose content is almost entirely copied from the Warcraft games and related products."
Polygon reports that Blizzard is seeking a court order to stop the infringement and maximum damages for the "serious and irreparable harm to Blizzard and its business.
"Defendants did not just copy a few discrete elements from Blizzard's Warcraft games," the company claims in the suit. "Every character in the Infringing Game was copied from a character from the Warcraft games, and many even bear the names of popular characters from the Warcraft games such as Jaina Proudmoore, Gul'dan, and Malfurion." Blizzard is seeking "$150,000 per infringed work." The image below is taken from the lawsuit, showing side-by-side comparisons between the offending character designs.
"Every monster, creature, animal and vehicle in the Infringing Game was copied from the Warcraft Games. Weapons, amulets, and other objects were taken straight from the Warcraft games, without pretense. Audio cues and sound effects from the Warcraft games were reproduced for the Infringing Game."
The suit claims that the defendants have "profited handsomely" from Glorious Saga and its alleged copyright infringement. Even the game's mobile icon recreates the cover for World of Warcraft's Battle of Azeroth expansion, depicting a human and orc locking eyes while snarling at each other. Blizzard alleges that the use of Warcraft material was "willful and intentional."
Five companies and two individuals are named in the suit, including Glorious Saga developer InstantFuns, and Sina Games--a subsidiary of Chinese software and tech company Sina Corp. Blizzard alleges that this isn't an isolated incident for the developer either, as it claims the company also advertises various unlicensed mobile games using the names and characters of well-known IP, such as Yu-Gi Oh!, Naruto, and Pokemon. Glorious Saga is just "among the latest" to have done so.
Blizzard believes many of the defendants are simply shell companies created "as part of an overarching scheme to deceive Blizzard or members of the public," with the two individuals responsible for running them also named in the suit. Each of the defendants is based outside of the United States, but Blizzard has chosen to file the suit in the Central California US District Court as each company conducted its business through US- and California-based companies, using Google Play and Facebook to distribute and market Glorious Saga to US customers.
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