We love LoL here at Morrison/Lee. I mean that in terms of both acronyms, the colloquial “LOL” and the massive online battle arena video game League of Legends “LoL”. Riot Games, the creator of LoL also loves League of Legends, and they will stop at nothing to protect it. Recently, Riot filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a Chinese video game developer for their Arena of Battle video game accusing it off being a rip-off.
There is the old adage in video game law that gameplay is not protected by copyright. But…the expression of that game play through look, story, settings, sound can all be protected and that is what we have here.
Arena of Battle is a mobile game created by Chinese video game developer Shanghai MoBai Computer Technology Co., Ltd. There is not much hiding the similarities between the two games.The similarities between the games are more than striking. Riot claims that “AoB contains approximately 56 champions, all of which are nearly identical copies of LoL champions, using similar appearances, names, abilities, ability names, icons representing abilities, and sound effects, as their counterparts in LoL.” Also, that “AoB contains equipment and items, as well as icon artwork for the same, copied and derived from LoL,” and AoB “market[s] their game using artwork that is directly taken from LoL, including character portrait art.” Riot even has a picture in the complaint of the artwork that AoB uses to market their game…it’s a direct copy of LoL artwork. Riot also claims that AoB directly copies the “skins” for corresponding LoL characters, they include a comparison of the LoL character “Dunkmaster Dyrus” and his AoB doppelganger, the skin is an EXACT copy. The aforementioned statements and facts are from the complaint by Riot, and they are more than incriminating, to say the least. You can see some comparison photos taken from the complaint in this article.
Riot is known to vigorously protect their IP and game communities, sometimes to a fault, but you can’t really fault them on this one. MoBai probably doesn’t have the resources to fight a company like Riot, so this could be a quick one. And since the developer of the allegedly infringing game is based in China, there is a strong likelihood that they will not defend the case. So if you are a Arena of Battle fan, hurry up and get in those last few matches before the game disappears for good.