Blizzard sues over HearthStone ripoff as open beta goes live

[UPDATE] Developer lodges legal complaint against Chinese copycat Legend of Crouching Dragon; open beta now available.

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[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, Blizzard announced that the open beta period for HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft had officially commenced. The game was previously only playable to those who were granted access to the closed beta. You can try the new free-to-play card game through its website today.

The original story is below.

As this is an open beta test, we are still very much in the testing phase as we prepare for the official launch. We look forward to your thoughts as you continue to check out the game, but please hold on official reviews until the game has crossed that final finish line and we can properly celebrate!

Blizzard Entertainment has sued the developer of a HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft copycat game.

MMO Culture, citing Chinese media statements, reports today that Blizzard and its Chinese partner NetEase have filed suit against developer Unico over the mobile game Legend of Crouching Dragon. The game was first revealed as a HearthStone clone in October 2013.

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The suit seeks $1.65 million in damages and the possible shutdown of Legend of Crouching Dragon on the grounds of infringement of intellectual property rights. As you can see in the image at left, the iOS and Android game appears to borrow substantially from Blizzard's upcoming free-to-play collectible card game.

We have reached out to Blizzard Entertainment's PR department about this lawsuit.

During BlizzCon in November, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime addressed the copycat. "I am aware of another game that is infringing on our Hearthstone intellectual property, and so our legal department is taking legal action against that to protect our intellectual property."

HearthStone is currently undergoing a closed beta testing period. The game is expected to launch first for PC and Mac later this year before coming to iOS and Android platforms sometime thereafter.

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