In its lawsuit, Riot Games, which is owned by Tencent Holdings, claimed that Moonton's "Mobile Legends: Bang Bang" (MLBB) has copied its own mobile version, "League of Legends: Wild Rift" (Wild Rift).
Riot Games stated:
"Moonton’s strategy is blatant copying... Over the years, as Riot updated its video game, Moonton would copy it.
When Riot updated the game’s promotional materials, Moonton copied them. And when Riot released a new trailer, Moonton copied it. This is a critical issue for Riot."
Riot Games also said that the lawsuit seeks to stop Moonton, now owned by ByteDance, from "continuing its deliberate and sustained campaign to free ride" on Wild Rift and related content.
Some examples of alleged copying
In its lawsuit, Riot Games gave several specific examples of Moonton's alleged copying.
Riot Games claimed that Moonton has been copying LoL in mobile games since as early as 2015.
On April 25, 2022, Moonton released an "All Star 2022" esports video on its official YouTube channel. The video has since been set to private.
Riot Games alleged that the video had "almost exactly" copied original music from its own "Welcome to Planet Urf" video which was released in 2015.
Similarly, Riot Games alleged that Moonton had released cinematic trailers and hero trailers that "look nearly identical" to those released by Riot Games.
In April 2019, Riot Games announced that it was transitioning from its old logo to a new logo for LoL.
Riot Games alleged that in September 2020, Moonton had done the same by changing its logo from a design that looked "highly similar" to Riot Games' old logo to a design that also looked "highly similar" to Riot Games' new logo.
The logos included the same layout, gold font, and prominent use of the word "Legends", said Riot Games.
Riot Games further claimed that Moonton had copied Wild Rift and LoL's original characters.
One example is the character Ahri, which was released in November 2018 for LoL and October 2020 for Wild Rift.
Riot Games claimed that Moonton's artwork for its hero Guinevere, which was released in April 2022 for MLBB, was "highly similar" to Ahri.
The two characters featured similar bright blue and purple colour schemes, and "nearly identical" geometric purple crystal fox tails.
Both characters also share "highly similar" abilities and attributes in the two games, Riot Games claimed.
Another example is Zac, a character which was released in March 2013 for LoL.
Riot Games alleged that Moonton's hero, Gloo, which was released in 2021 for MLBB, was "highly similar" to Zac.
Riot Games said:
"Both feature the same magenta, purple, and black colour scheme, distinctive clawed hands, and similar body shapes. The two characters also share similar walks, attacks, attributes, and abilities in the games."
Besides characters, Riot Games alleged that Moonton had copied its original splash arts.
For example, Riot Games released its original splash art for the champion Jhin’s "Dark Cosmic" skin in June 2019 for LoL and October 2020 for Wild Rift.
In February 2021, Moonton released its splash art for the hero Yve’s "Astrowarden" skin for MLBB.
Riot Games claimed that Yve's splash art was "highly similar" to Jhin's, as seen by their purple and black colour scheme, shoulder and chest armour, hoods, facemasks, pointed purple gloves, capes, and dark stormy backgrounds.
Riot Games also claimed that Moonton’s splash art for Yve was "highly similar" to its other original splash arts for the "Dark Star Thresh" and "Dark Star Xerath" champions, which were released in June 2016 and March 2020 for LoL.
"These characters feature the same black orb, posing of the characters, purple and black colour scheme, and dark and stormy backgrounds," Riot Games claimed.
Not the first lawsuit
This is not the first time Riot Games has sued Moonton over copyright infringements.
According to Reuters, Riot Games had filed a lawsuit in the same court in 2017, claiming that MLBB and other Moonton games had copied LoL.
However, the court dismissed the case later that year, stating that it would be better heard in China, where Moonton is based in.
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Top images via League of Legends & Mobile Legends.