Earlier this year, League of Legends Riot announced that they were once again attempting to sue Shanghai Moonton, the developers of Mobile Legends for alleged intellectual copyright infringement. Their court case however has now been dismissed.
The United States judge in charge of the case says that the dispute between the two companies should be resolved in China. This is because Moonton is a Chinese company and while Riot Games is based in Los Angeles, they are owned by the Chinese conglomerate Tencent. Moonton motioned a ‘forum non conveniens’, which essentially means they said the trial should take place in a more appropriate court. While Riot opposed the motion, the court eventually dismissed the case on these grounds.
The judge also noted that Tencent was also pressing their own separate charges against Moonton in China and believed it was “unfair to allow Riot and Tencent to bring a two-front war against Moonton unless and until Tencent decides to show up on both battlefields.”
This isn’t the first legal battle between Riot Games and Moonton over League of Legends and Mobile Legends. Riot Games previously tried to sue Moonton in 2017. This led to Mobile Legends being briefly taken down from app stores. It was later relisted as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang with minor changes. This case was eventually dismissed for similar reasons to the 2022 case.
Riot Games has since responded to the outcome of the case with the following statement to PC Gamer:
“We strongly disagree with the court’s decision and especially its worrying conclusion that China is an ‘adequate alternative forum’ for a US company to pursue its claims of copyright infringement that occurred in the US. The idea of having US citizens apply for M5 visas to fly overseas in order to ask a Chinese court for relief concerning works that were both created and infringed in the US—defies common sense. On top of that, Moonton’s knock-off game isn’t even available in China. We are exploring all possible options, including an appeal.”