KEY POINTS

  • Riot is taking Moonton to court again for allegedly infringing on its IPs
  • Moonton is accused of extensively copying elements of "League of Legends" and its mobile spin-off
  • The previous case between the two companies was settled in 2018

Riot Games is once again suing Chinese developer Moonton Technology, a Shanghai-based company known for the mobile game “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang,” for intellectual property infringement over the latter’s alleged continued attempts to copy “League of Legends.”

This time, Riot claimed that Moonton is copying “League of Legends: Wild Rift,” the mobile spin-off of its titanic MOBA title, Polygon reported. The complaint was filed Monday in California, where Riot previously sued Moonton Technology in 2017.

The first lawsuit against the Shanghai-based developers was junked, with the judge saying that it could be heard more conveniently in China. This case was eventually settled in 2018, with Tencent Holdings, Riot’s parent company, being awarded $2.9 million.

After Tencent handled the lawsuit, Riot then complained to Google. The game, which was known as “Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA” at the time, was then removed from the Google Play and Apple App Store. However, it resurfaced as “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang,” which was basically the same game with very little difference from its original version.

Promotional image for Mobile Legends Bang Bang in the Google Play Store Promotional image for Mobile Legends Bang Bang in the Google Play Store Photo: Moonton

In the new case, Riot alleged that Moonton has been extensively copying elements of “Wild Rift” and implementing them into “MLBB,” from skins, designs and character abilities to marketing materials like trailers and esports content, according to PC Gamer.

“Riot has invested and continues to invest significant time, money, resources, and creativity in developing, designing, promoting, and updating LoL, Wild Rift, and related content. Meanwhile, Moonton freely capitalizes on Riot’s investment,” Riot alleged in its complaint.

Based on the history of Riot and Moonton in U.S. courts, it’s likely that the Shanghai-based developer will get sued in China yet again by Tencent in a repeat of the 2017 proceedings.

“Mobile Legends: Bang Bang” is a very popular mobile game in Southeast Asia. It follows the same rules and 5v5 format found in many other MOBAs. However, even the community agrees that the resemblance between “MLBB” and “League of Legends” champions is too close to be a mere coincidence.

If Riot wins its new lawsuit, Moonton could be completely prohibited from distributing “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang” across the U.S.