Shanghai court finds infringement against ‘Overwatch’ game

Overwatch maker Blizzard Entertainment has been awarded 4 million yuan ($569,000) after a court found Chinese publisher 4399 Network guilty of copyright infringement. 

Blizzard Entertainment, the US video game giant and NetEase, its local agent in China, has won nearly 4 million yuan (US$569,000) from a Xiamen-based game publisher and its Guangzhou branch.

The Pudong New Area People’s Court ruled last month that 4399 Network’s games copied elements of Blizzard’s popular team-based shooting game Overwatch.

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

The plaintiffs subsequently filed an infringement lawsuit claiming that the copyrights of Overwatch were being violated.

4399 Network had attempted to argue that Overwatch itself actually pulled similar elements from other popular games, and thus it did not own the elements it claimed rights over.

The company further put forth that although their games may have resembled Overwatch in certain respects, they were the products of their own development and innovation, and therefore couldn’t be accused of copyright infringement.

The court, however, sided with Blizzard and NetEase, resulting in the payout consisting of 3 million yuan in compensation for Clash of Fighters and 500,000 yuan for Gunplay Battlefront.

The defendants were also ordered to pay more than 470,000 yuan for the plaintiffs’ attorney and notary fees.