US judge tells Riot to sue League of Legends in China

A US judge has dismissed Riot Games’ lawsuit against Shanghai Moonton (opens in a new tab) on the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang mobile game, saying the dispute between the two companies should be resolved in China.

The dismissal order (opens in a new tab) was granted following the filing of a forum not conveniens (opens in a new tab) Shanghai Moonton’s motion – actually a request to transfer the case to a more appropriate court. Riot opposed the motion on three separate points, including China’s “COVID-19 evidence and travel restrictions”, but the judge in the case rejected all three arguments.

Noting that Riot is wholly owned by Chinese conglomerate Tencent, which is not involved in this case but is pursuing a separate lawsuit against Shanghai Moonton in China, the court said it would be “unfair to allow Riot and Tencent to take action on two fronts”. war on Moonton unless and until Tencent decides to show up on both battlegrounds.”

Riot’s complaints about more restrictive discovery rules in China, which they say will unfairly advantage Shanghai Moonton, also didn’t hold up: the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, and the decision states that “if the evidentiary hurdles in China prove genuinely fatal to some of Riot’s claims (i.e. regarding those removed [Mobile Legends: Bang Bang] promotional trailers), Riot may bring specific action regarding such claims in this court.”

The dispute between Riot and Shanghai Moonton actually dates back years and includes two other games called Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA and Magic Rush: Heroes. Riot said in a 2017 lawsuit that Moonton “developed and distributed a succession of mobile games designed to trade Riot’s well-known and valuable intellectual property”, and that when Riot complained about the infringement, Moonton withdrew the game from the cast but then re-released it, with some “modest changes”, as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. This case was also dismissed on the same ground as this, a decision mentioned by the judge in this decision.

“The question is whether the circumstances have really changed from those that existed in 2017 or if Riot is simply looking for a second bite of apple, unhappy with the progress (or lack of progress) in the parallel litigation in China still ongoing,” the decision said. states. “The Court considers the latter to be the case.”

“For years, the parties have argued closely related copyright claims in China that raise many of the same issues that Riot is now trying to raise again in the United States,” said Ajay Krishnan, partner at the law firm. by Moonton, Keker, Van Nest. & Peters. “It would have been redundant, inefficient and totally unfair to pursue this case in the United States, where Moonton would not have access to key evidence and witnesses.”

Riot, of course, has a very different take on the decision and said it was considering its options.

“We strongly disagree with the court’s decision and in particular its troubling conclusion that China is an ‘adequate alternative forum’ for an American company to pursue its copyright infringement claims that occurred in the United States,” he said. said a company representative in an email sent to PC. Player. “The idea of ​​asking US citizens to apply for M5 visas to fly abroad to seek redress from a Chinese court for works that were both created and infringed in the US – defies common sense On top of that, Moonton’s counterfeit game isn’t even available in China. We are exploring all possible options, including an appeal.”

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