Chinese IP Law Updates
September 21, 2016

Blizzard Entertainment succeeds in infringement lawsuit against World of Warcraft

Recently, Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase make an announcement that Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court has delivered a verdict in favor of Blizzard and NetEase in joint copyright infringement and unfair competition proceedings against Chengdu Qiyou Technology Co., Ltd. (“Qiyou”), Beijing Fenbo Times Internet Technology Co., Ltd. (“Fenbo”) and Guangzhou Dongjing ComputerTechnology Co., Ltd. (“Dongjing”), ruling that (i) Qiyou and Dongjing shall immediately cease and desist from activities of copyright infringement and unfair competition, from operating, offering the disputed game to public; (ii)Dongjing shall immediately stop transmitting the disputed game; and (iii) the three Defendants shall jointly compensate the Plaintiffs for economic losses in the aggregate amount of RMB 6 million.

The Court holds the following: Without Blizzard Entertainment’s consent, Qiyou and Fenbo developed and operated a game World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, which is substantially similar to the product of Blizzard Entertainment, and which shall be deemed as an infringement of Blizzard Entertainment’s copyright. In the disputed game, Qiyou and Fenbo have used without permission the unique elements of World of Warcraft including the title World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, decorations of game title, logo interface, character creation interface, etc.; The in-game characters from the“World of Warcraft” series of games are highly recognized characters that drive demand when used in games and related commodities. Qiyou and Fenbo have used the characters’ names and names similar to these recognized characters in the disputed game with the intention of associating them with Blizzard’s recognized original game, which may easily cause confusion to gamers and constitutes unfair competition. Fenbo has used promotional words and phrases, such as Warcraft mobile game, the most Warcraft mobile game, Warcraft at fingertips, heritage of Warcraft etc.. Dongjing has failed to exercise reasonable care in its dissemination of the disputed game on 9You website, which constitutes contributory infringement.

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