Riot Games’ Lawsuit against Moonton for the allegations of intellectual copyright infringement dismissed in U.S. Court

According to the ruling of the Los Angeles federal court, ByteDance's Shanghai Moonton Technology Co Ltd does not have to face Riot Games’ copyright lawsuit over the alleged copying of some parts in Riot’s popular mobile version of League of Legends.

riot games hq.jpg

Because Riot's parent company, Tencent Holdings Ltd, refused to join the case and provide crucial information, Riot’s lawsuit against Moonton was dismissed last Tuesday by the U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald.

The U.S. judge also said that the dispute could be resolved in China as both companies are based in the same country even if Riot Games is based in Los Angeles, they are still owned by the Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Because of this, Moonton motioned for a ‘forum non conveniens’, which means that the trial should take place in a more appropriate court. Riot opposed the motion but the court accepted it which led to the case being dismissed.

"For years, the parties have been litigating highly related copyright claims in China that raise many of the same issues that Riot is now trying to re-raise in the U.S.,” Moonton attorney Ajay Krishnan of Keker, Van Nest & Peters said in a statement. "It would have been duplicative, inefficient, and wholly unfair to proceed with this case in the U.S., where Moonton would lack access to key evidence and witnesses."

In an email, Riot's associate general counsel Dan Nabel said that the company strongly disagrees with the decision and that they are considering an appeal.

“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.”

Add to that, U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald also noted that Tencent has also filed its own separate charges against Moonton in China. Because of this, he believes that it’s “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 time that Riot Games has filed a lawsuit against Moonton over allegations of intellectual copyright infringement. The games involved are League of Legends and Mobile Legends. The first lawsuit was filed in 2017 which led to Mobile Legends being briefly taken down from app stores. The game was later re-listed with minor changes under the name Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. However, the 2017 case was dismissed due to similar reasons to the 2022 case.