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November 14, 2019

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Blizzard, NetEase win damages for Overwatch

US video game giant Blizzard Entertainment and its local agent NetEase won nearly 4 million yuan (US$569,000) from a Xiamen-based game publisher and its Guangzhou branch whose games copied elements of Blizzard’s team-based shooting game Overwatch, the Pudong New Area People’s Court ruled yesterday.

According to the court, the two plaintiffs found that a mobile game called Clash of Fighters and an online game Gunplay Battlefront, both published by Xiamen-based 4399 Network and its Guangzhou-based subsidiary, copied aspects of Overwatch, including its character design, game play, maps and other elements.

The plaintiffs filed an infringement suit which claimed that the copyrights of Overwatch were being violated.

The defendants alleged that Overwatch also contained similar elements to previous games, and thus it did not own the rights to those elements. They asserted that their games were the products of their own development and innovation, though they may have resembled Overwatch in certain respects.

In the end, the court ruled in favor of Blizzard and NetEase, and upheld their demands for 3 million yuan in compensation from Clash of Fighters.

For Gunplay Battlefront, because the title was unavailable since July 14, 2017, the court set the amount of compensation at 500,000 yuan. It also ordered the defendants to pay more than 470,000 yuan for the plaintiffs’ attorney and notary fees.


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