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.


[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.

No Caption Provided

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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Avatar image for Jag85

Hearthstone itself looks like a clone of Tetra Master, the minigame from FFIX that later become an online minigame with FFXI.

Avatar image for jjleshko90

Does Eddie ever get it right? It seems like every one of his articles has "The original story is below." He makes it appear as though his "journalism" changed the story, but it's just that he writes for old news.

Avatar image for SgtSilock

lol you can't sure China.

Avatar image for Nunchuku6

People seem to not understand creation of products or Warcraft/Starcraft heavily inspired by Warhammer? Yes that's quite obvious...but Blizzard has made a VERY different product than Warhammer games. Look at ANY modern game...they all have roots in older games...hell you might as well say Call of Duty is a rip-off and "dumbed-down" version of Doom or Quake based on your reasonings...but look at how many people praise that game.

Avatar image for glowhockey

This is the first time that I heard this news. << LINK REMOVED >>

Avatar image for Gopstop2222

blizzard you idiot china copy everything can somone sue them? NOP idiots are wasting time

Avatar image for Seifer24

i think it looks better than crapstone

Avatar image for dmblum1799


From China wiki:

In 1980, the << LINK REMOVED >> became a member of the << LINK REMOVED >> (WIPO).

It has patterned its IPR laws on the << LINK REMOVED >> and the << LINK REMOVED >> (TRIPS).

The PRC acceded to the << LINK REMOVED >> on 14 November 1984 and became an official member on 19 March 1985. The PRC also acceded to the << LINK REMOVED >> in June 1989.

Avatar image for Inlex

Ironic that blizzard are being ripped off, given the fact that Hearthstone, Diablo III and HotS were total ripoffs themselves.

Do not play hearthstone

do not play diablo

do not plat SC:hots

/end rage

Avatar image for Xplode_77

<< LINK REMOVED >> I agree with Hearthstone and HotS, but Diablo III didn't rip off of anything except D1 and D2.

Avatar image for JSusie

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I wish D3 had ripped off D1 and D2......

Avatar image for davisbe76

Hey, Blizzard, Games Workshop says they totally understand how you feel. To have someone blatantly rip off your IP must really suck.
Ah, the irony!

See: Warhammer (Warcraft), Warhammer 40,000 (Starcraft)

Avatar image for Baraq

Who cares let the Chinamen have their crappy rip off.

Avatar image for csward

Is there nothing the Chinese won't steal?!? They came all the way here to Iowa to steal our corn genetic traits ffs. Obama needs to slap the Chinese gov't around a bit I think.

Avatar image for ZombieGuyGeorge

<< LINK REMOVED >> they have the trademark and copyrights of the Guadalupe virgin (if you don't know, Guadalupe is the name they gaved to mary, mother of jesus in mexico and it's revered by around 60% of conservative Mexicans, and a good part of latin, south America and other countries)

now churches can't exhibit images of her and the Guadalupe cathedral had to pay a lot of money so they could still use a 500 years old image that's now copyrighted.

they also stole the corona beer (registered first as cerona), so now corona can't distribute beers in asia and part of Russia and some parts in Europe.

Avatar image for ---Cipher---

<< LINK REMOVED >>D'ey took eR JOWBS!!!!!!!

Avatar image for Mohjong

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I found it to be rather funny that while they took some manufacturing jobs from us American, they also give us jobs at Walmart and K-mart. Speaking of walmart, every time I visit there, the busiest section always the food section, while the dead section is always the "make your own" fabric/wool/yawn section. So I say let the Chinese, after a hard day working at them "suicide inducing" factories, come home to some cheap Chinese gaming that's like the clone of a western game but completely made by Chinese so not a single cent will go out side of China. We created demands that they could fill at a rather low price, so after they finish gaming, they will go back to the factories and work. Understand the medicinal aspect of it. So I say don't ban gaming in China, legalize and tax it.

Avatar image for CoquiNegro

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> D'ey took eR JOWBS!!!!!!! D'ey took eR JOWBS!!!!!!!

Avatar image for vadagar1

and frankly they changed the name well enough ....

Avatar image for vadagar1

oh by the way Blizzard nature called and it said it been doing blizzards for billions of years... and it wants its name back

Avatar image for lem10001

Ermagerd! A Chinese ripoff! Did anyone see this coming?

Avatar image for stormed81

This just in - Blizzard stole their name from Canada. Litigation to follow....

Avatar image for vadagar1

some one tell failzzard about china .....

fucking idiots....

Avatar image for Kinguard73

China steals everything else so why not.... I feel sorry for the people there. Such a proud people yet constantly involved with bloodshed and theft of it's own people much less other countries. =( The people are pretty decent though really...

Avatar image for dpadam450

<< LINK REMOVED >>Proud to steal, overwork their employees, make hazardous and awful quality products. Proud of their smog too.......get real, they are losers and nobody should feel sorry for them.

Avatar image for deactivated-5887c3545bd6c

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> america leads the world in cultural progression, every country copies american pop culture, so i find it funny how people from other countries bash america yet love living like us

Avatar image for Darkhol0w

China don't care! That pretty much sums it up how much of a shit China cares about US laws.

Avatar image for Takeno456

China does not care about Western intellectual property. Blizzards case will probably go nowhere. I find it interesting that American companies are still shocked that China does not play by the rules. This has been the case for many years now. Until the companies actually give a focused effort to protect their IPs this kind of thing will become more and more common.

Avatar image for James00715

<< LINK REMOVED >> According to one of the links, the game is published by The9. This company has an American presence and is listed on NASDAQ. Suing this branch of the company might be enough to get them to stop publishing the game, though Blizzard still probably can't touch the Chinese developer.

Avatar image for dpadam450

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>Can't touch them, then bomb em. Blizzard should buy an f-16 and go bomb this company.

Avatar image for Andrendenum1

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah, cause that's a realistic alternative...

Avatar image for Stag_Lee

GAMESPOT: Why are you using an [UPDATE] to advertise for a third party?? With a link to the download and everything?? This doesn't help your image, you're already seen as a paid advertiser. How many non-gaming news sites LINK to the product being reported on? Not the credible ones. Not the credible ones.

Avatar image for electrichobo99

China: the world's premier copyright pirate, land of corruption, data hackers, and usually uninspired concepts unless one considers all their lame-ass deviousness bent toward ripping people off or counterfeiting, way to go China!

Avatar image for sidzero

How can you even have a copycat of a product you haven't released yet? Doesn't that make YOUR product the copycat? Fucking Blizzard, I swear... it's Freecraft all over again.

Avatar image for Xenro4

<< LINK REMOVED >>ok....

Avatar image for CrouchingWeasel


Avatar image for randomkidlol

The likelyhood of the suit being successful increases dramatically just because blizzard has a distribution partner in china. Otherwise, throwing the lawsuit would have just been laughed at in a chinese court.

Avatar image for shreddyz

What court has the authority to level a judgement against a Chinese company? Admiral Chang is laughing at you Blizzard. nice try though.

Avatar image for Kjranu

Good luck. China doesn't give a crap about American intellectual properties.

Avatar image for Panupi2

I am not sure that posting links here is against the rules, but go search "臥龍傳說:三國名將傳" in youtube to see the promotional video. At LEAST Blizzard makes an effort to not blatantly copies all of MtG mechanics and interface, this game are just a total ripoff of Hearthstone. Even the interface is the same.

Avatar image for leikeylosh

Since playing cards were invented in China, Blizzard has no claim over the chinese company.

Avatar image for xsonicchaos

Legend of Crouching Dragon? Well, the dragon had to take a dump somewhere and these guys made a legend out of it.