Court proceedings have begun in the copyright infringement lawsuit PUBG Corporation et al v. NetEase, Inc. et al. The U.S. District Court, California Northern District case 4:18-CV-02010 is assigned to Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland. Headquartered in Korea, PUBG is a privately held company founded in 2009. PUBG alleges that the defendant copied ideas from the bestselling video game, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground. In June 2018 PUBG announced that Battleground had sold more than fifty million copies for Windows PC and Xbox One. This is addition to 350 million players on mobile devices such as Android and iOS as a free-to-download game. Founded in 1997, NetEase, Inc. is a Chinese internet technology company and has produced some of China’s online PC-client games.
The April 10, 2018, complaint alleges copyright infringement and trade dress infringement under federal statutes, as well as unfair business competition under California state law.
“Defendants have created or caused to be created reproductions of BATTLEGROUNDS and its copyrightable components and/or derivative works based upon BATTLEGROUNDS or its copyrightable components, all of which are substantially similar in visual appearance and/or audio sound to PUBG’s original work, without authorization from Plaintiff.”
The First Claim for Relief argument states:
“On information and belief, Defendants’ acts of infringement have been and continue to be willful, intentional, knowing, and purposeful, in disregard of and indifferent to PUBG’s rights.
As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ infringing conduct, Defendants have derived benefit and have caused PUBG both monetary and non-monetary damage.
PUBG is entitled to an injunction restraining Defendants from engaging in any further acts in violation of the United States and California copyright and trade dress laws. PUBG has suffered irreparable harm as a result of Defendants’ infringing activities and will continue to suffer irreparable harm in the future unless Defendants are enjoined from their infringing conduct.”
Copyright claims based on allegations of similarities between video games are common in the gaming industry but the scope of this litigation is not. IP attorney Nicholas Plassaras describes the conflict:
“Cloning disputes involve mobile games, where both the financial stakes and the quality of the gaming are lower… “Battlegrounds,” also known as “PUBG,” and “Rules of Survival” are Triple-A titles painstakingly developed for PCs and consoles at high cost, and have likely generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, if not a billion. (Law.com, 9/24/18).”
Because not all elements of a video game are protectable, copyright expert witnesses prove invaluable in assessing whether infringement has taken place. These experts are skilled in the analysis of trademark infringement, intellectual property, patents, and licensing. Contact ForensisGroup to be matched with an experienced and credible copyright expert witness for your case.