The Beijing Internet Court on July 19 ruled in favor of Tencent in a copyright infringement case that the gaming giant filed against a Beijing-based tech company for appropriating WeChat’s stickers and red packet feature, Beijing Business Today reported.
Why it matters: Tencent has previously sued other businesses for infringing on WeChat copyrights, and has been much more aggressively using legal means to address intellectual property (IP) disputes. However, this is the first time that the company has filed and won a lawsuit involving WeChat’s more peripheral features.
- Tencent filed the case against Beijing Qingshu Technology in April, requesting RMB 5 million (around $726,900) in damages.
Details: The court lowered Tencent’s requested compensation of RMB 5 million to RMB 400,000, citing “minor innovations” that Qingshu Technology made in its messaging app, “Chuiniu,” which means “boasting” in English.
- Tencent claimed that Chuiniu used six of Tencent’s original stickers and copied its red packet feature without authorization.
- Qingshu Technology argued that digital red packets have existed long before WeChat incorporated them, so they are not protected by Tencent’s copyright.
- According to the court’s ruling, however, WeChat’s red packets differ from those on other platforms, and Chuiniu did not make any substantial change to WeChat’s design.
- The court also required Qingshu Technology to issue a statement on its official website to explain the situation.
Context: Tencent has significantly ramped up its legal efforts to defend its copyrights over the past year. It has, for example, sued Bytedance nine times in less than a year for livestreaming its games.
- Tencent filed a major copyright infringement lawsuit against a blockchain social app named “Biying,” or “inChat,” for copying WeChat’s interface, demanding RMB 10 million in damages. So far, the court’s decisions have been in Tencent’s favor.
- Beijing Haidian People’s Court issued an injunction in January 2019, ordering the developer of inChat, Chips Limited, to halt all operation of inChat and remove all existing downloading channels of the app.