When you’re the progenitor of an entire genre of games and you own the reins of a billion-dollar intellectual property, imitation, it turns out, isn’t the sincerest form of flattery. It’s the kind of thing that drags you to US federal court. And that’s exactly what Krafton, a manufacturer of PUBG Mobile, is doing with Garena Online over accusations that the Singapore-based game developer has once again infringed on its battle royale IP. In addition, Krafton has named Google and Apple in its complaint.
This is not the first time Krafton has sued Garena Online. In 2017, Krafton filed a lawsuit in Singapore for the sale of Free Fire: Battlegrounds, Garena is suspicious PUBG-like mobile shooter, but ended up solving this case. Now, Krafton is suing Garena again, for free fire again, but this time in US federal court.
Krafton claims that after establishing himself in 2017, Garena immediately resumed sales free fire on Google Play and the Apple App Store without entering into any kind of licensing agreement to use the content of the disputed game. In addition, Garena started selling another battle royale game of questionable copyright pedigree, Free Fire Max, last September. As such, Krafton is suing Garena for copyright infringement, alleging that “Garena has made hundreds of millions of dollars from its global sales of the infringing apps” and holding Google and Apple markets liable for damages for hosting the content. Krafton, who is based in Seoul, South Korea, did not specify damages beyond the statutory $150,000 per infringement.
Copyright infringement claims like this are very common across the tech industry, with legal departments constantly on the lookout for potential IP infringements, whether intentional or not. For example, earlier this week, the App Store was flooded with knockoffs and clones of the newly created hit mobile app Wordle, prompting Apple to step in and remove the offending iterations.
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