While not many folks in the gaming industry have faith in China’s legal system when it comes to IP rights, they can be heartened to know that Blizzard Entertainment and publisher NetEase won a legal battle against a local developer which ripped off Hearthstone’s logo and game content.
The Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court ruled that developer Unico has “totally copied” Hearthstone, and must now stop all commercial activities related to the game, Legend of Crouching Dragon (卧龙传说: 三国名将转). Unico must also compensate both companies on commercial losses.
Things are certainly improving in China with regards to intellectual property (IP) rights, with copycats now in real danger of being hauled to court. Shanda Games recently sent lawyer letters to a bundle of studios, and the government is also establishing IP courts to improve its global image.