All the classic “lane and tower” MOBAs play at least somewhat the same. Whether it’s Dota 2, League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, Heroes of the Storm, or something else, they all have similar elements, with just enough differences to draw players from a competing title — and to avoid copyright infringement lawsuits.

“Copyright infringement” isn’t a term that’s well-understood (or applied) in China, however, so Riot Games now finds itself embroiled in a lawsuit with a Chinese developer that’s made a game that’s just a little too like League of Legends — at least from Riot’s point of view.

In the video above, you can see the MOBA Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. Riot is accusing developer Shanghai Moonton Technology of copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and false designation of origin and demands a trial by jury. (We think “trial by MOBA” would be cooler, but then they would have to agree on which game to use.) In the suit, Riot claims that Moonton’s MOBA titles

contains (or at one time contained) a vast array of elements that were directly and deliberately appropriated from LoL, including but not limited to LoL’s characters, artwork, map designs, and unit and monster designs.

Riot also accuses Moonton of “overt gamesmanship,” using a logo similar to LoL’s and creating a product that it knew would invoke Riot’s wrath and “made only the most minimal adjustments” to its previous games, Magic Rush: Heroes and Mobile Legends: 5v5, once Riot responded.

(Curiously, the address for Moonton listed in the lawsuit appears to be an apartment in a residential district in China. Then again, Riot is incorporated in Delaware, so maybe it doesn’t mean anything.)

You can see for yourself in the latter part of the lawsuit all of the points where Riot claims that Moonton’s games infringe upon League’s copyrights, including a number of exceptionally similar characters. Magic Rush: Heroes even has a werewolf character named “Jacob,” so maybe Twilight’s lawyers — which I know from personal experience can be very aggressive — can get a piece of them too.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

12 Readers Commented

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  1. Dreepatz on July 13, 2017

    that Jacob is not in the game, I have the game installed and I don’t see any character called Jacob or using similar skills shown above.
    Also, there are more games, along with Mobile Legends, that use lot’s of Dota2/LoL hero design, there was a hero (reworked now) that worked identically as Veigar, there are heroes that resemble Lee Sin a lot, lot’s of Dota2 heroes also.
    Does anyone remembers HoN? It had straight copy/paste heroes from Dota2 only under different design/name and untill Valve reacted they kept making them. They are still in the game, they just stopped copying.
    So yeah… long shot. I even think this is fake news tbh.

    • Jason Winter Author on July 13, 2017

      Thanks, we’ve updated the piece to indicate that the Jacob image comes from Moonton’s other game, Magic Rush: Heroes.

    • TreadHead on July 13, 2017

      HoN was made before Dota 2 was planned by Valve, and was meant to be a stand alone version of Dota. S2 had permission from Icefrog to use hero designs from Dota.

  2. lul on July 12, 2017

    LOL i reported this game the moment i saw it and played it many months ago. there is sylvanas in the game… thats straight up copyright and insta sue

    • Rick on July 13, 2017

      why report it, it’s advertised (or was) all over facebook. RIOT knew about it before u did but that’s no excuse to be a little b*tch and report it.

      I’ve played it myself, very good game, not good enough to keep me playing it as I quit months ago but RIOT should definitely follow in their footsteps.

      100% obvious clone though, yes. They don’t even try and hide is the map is EXACTLY the same, bushes in the exact same place. With all the design they put into it, they could have easily made some minor adjustments.

      Clearly it’s a huge market and the only way to get on top was to give people what they want and that’s a direct clone of LoL to the mobile device.

  3. Hellsworth on July 12, 2017

    Someone should sue Riot for DOTA and Warcraft 3 copyrights.

  4. Kevin Flemming on July 12, 2017

    Fairly sure they won’t win. Chinese companies often get away with pilfering game assests. Look at most browser-based games, they have the same artwork and even mechanics, areas and assests throughout.

    • Kevin Flemming on July 12, 2017

      assets*

      • Frosty on July 12, 2017

        Mobile Legends is signed under US Jurisdiction lul

      • FrostySkipper on July 12, 2017

        Mobile legends is signed under US Jurisdiction

    • League of Losers on July 12, 2017

      Riot is now owned by a Chinese conglomerate. They wouldn’t be so easy to dismiss, even in a Chinese court.

    • elliot on July 15, 2017

      Riot is a subsidiary of Tencent, lol.

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