South Korea’s PUBG Corp, the developer of hit game Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), is suing NetEase in the US District of California in Northern California for copyright infringement, unfair competition and trade dress infringement–imitating the visual appearance of elements of intellectual property–over the Chinese company’s Knives Out and Rules of Survival.
Even before PUBG Corp created a mobile version of its island death match officially released in China via Tencent, NetEase had released Knives Out and Rules of Survival for smartphones. PUBG Corp has alleged the games bear striking similarities to theirs in terms of gameplay, visuals, themes and even the advertising of the game on Facebook.
The case has been filed in Northern California and the 155-page document (via Gadgets 360) makes for interesting and somewhat amusing reading, especially around the copying of PUBG’s “winner winner chicken dinner” (晚上吃鸡) terminology for celebrating, which has become so mainstream in Chinese gaming that it now refers to this type of game in general (吃鸡游戏). The use of pans in PUBG as both weapons and armor and the use of rubber chickens as weapons has appeared in Rules of Survival.
PUBG Corp’s previous attempt at complaining to Apple’s App Store and response from NetEase are mentioned in the filing.
PUBG Corp, a subsidiary of Bluehole, is suing NetEase for $150,000 per infringed work and $2,500 per violation, which could potentially run to millions of dollars depending on the court’s findings. The plaintiff also wants NetEase to cease operating both games.
NetEase announced via its WeChat account that Knives Out and Rules of Survival were both developed in isolation of PUBG, according to Tencent News (in Chinese).