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February 24, 2021

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IP court upholds sentence on Shanghai tech firm

The Shanghai Intellectual Property Court has upheld a sentence that mobile game “Digital Monster” copied the rule of the “The King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match OL” and should pay a 1.6million yuan (US$247,700) compensation.

“The King of Fighters” game was developed by Chinese company Yiqu Technology in 2015, based on permission of the copyright owner, Japanese game company SNK. It was the first Chinese mobile game to win the title of most popular game on Google Play in Japan in 2016.

A year later, Yiqu found that “Digital Monster,” created by Shanghai YuMeng Network Technology Co, illegally copied the rule of its game, including the surface and game characters’ attributes. Yiqu sued.

Although the defendant considered the rule not original to the plaintiff and their subject matter was different, a district court said the rule is one of the key elements of a game and that the defendant had violated the business ethics and damaged the interests of the plaintiff.

The defendant appealed and the case was referred to the IP court. It agreed with the original sentence. It said the defendant hadn’t infringed the copyright of the plaintiff but it had copied the game rule of the plaintiff.


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