Riot Games Sues Moonton for Plagiarism

California-based game developer Riot Games has sued ByteDance’s Shanghai Moonton Technology Co., Ltd. for what it called “blatant copying” of the mobile version of Wild Rift, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

In the lawsuit filed Monday at a federal court in Los Angeles, Riot alleged that Moonton used a copying strategy to develop and market its mobile phone game “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang,” using content and promotional materials from the League of Legends franchise. Riot holds that such actions violated its copyright.

Riot said in its statement that the lawsuit was due to the continuous plagiarism of Moonton, spanning several years. According to the lawsuit, Moonton began copying League of Legends in its mobile games as early as 2015.

Riot filed a lawsuit at the same court in 2017, alleging that Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and other games by Moonton had copied League of Legends. Moonton responded that Mobile Legends: Bang Bang was a completely independent and self-developed game with independent intellectual property rights. The same year, the court dismissed the case on the grounds that legal proceedings should be conducted in China.

Moonton was established in 2014, focused on the R&D and distribution of global games. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company has branches in Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong. On March 22, 2021, firm CEO Yuan Jing issued a letter to all employees, announcing that Moonton had reached a strategic acquisition agreement with ByteDance.

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Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) mobile game developed and distributed by Moonton. The game was released globally for Android on July 14, 2016 and for iOS on November 9, 2016. In the game, players in more than 135 countries using 19 languages compete on the same stage. At present, the game has been downloaded more than 500 million times from the Google Play Store.