Riot Games filed a lawsuit in a Central California court last week alleging Chinese mobile game dev Shanghai Moonton Technology is engaging in "willful and bad faith infringement" of Riot's rights to its flagship intellectual property: League of Legends.
While these sorts of infringement lawsuits aren't exactly rare in the game industry (at one point in 2015 Blizzard was actually suing a studio that was itself suing another studio for coypright infringement), it's interesting to read Riot's account of how it tried and failed to put the kibosh on the alleged League of Legends copycat games.
According to the legal filing, in late 2015 Riot noticed Shanghai Moonton's mobile MOBA Magic Rush: Heroes was remarkably similar to League. Riot contacted the company, as well as U.S. distributor Elex and representatives of the Apple App Store and Google Play store, to get the game taken down until it had been modified to not infringe on Riot's IP rights.
Riot alleges that even as it was working with Elex to get Magic Rush modified, Shanghai Moonton was developing a second, similar game that Riot says was also basically a League copycat -- Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA (see image, excerpted from the legal filing, below).
The game was reportedly released on Google Play's store in 2016, and Riot alleges it provided evidence to Google that the game was infringing on League. At that point the developer reportedly took the game down, then put up a nearly identical version shortly thereafter with a different name: Mobile Legends: Bang bang.
For its part, Shanghai Moonton published an image of a letter to its Mobile Legends: Bang bang Facebook page today that states, in part, "Mobile Legends is a MOBA game that is developed by Moonton independently...Moonton has independent intellectual property rights."
In its legal filing Riot seeks a judgement that permanently blocks Shanghai Moonton from infringing on its League of Legends rights, delivers unto Riot all materials and accounting data related to sales of infringing products, and sees Riot recompensed for damages, legal fees, and lost revenue.