Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,464
17,802


Krafton, developer popular online battle game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or PUBG, has sued Apple, Google, and gaming company Garena over PUBG clone apps that copy PUBG gameplay, reports Reuters.

pubg.jpg

The lawsuit accuses Garena of creating PUBG clones called "Free Fire" and "Free Fire Max," which originated in Singapore and were later released in the United States. Apple and Google are named in the lawsuit for selling the "blatantly infringing version" of PUBG that was created by Garena.
As set forth in detail below, Free Fire and Free Fire Max extensively copy numerous aspects of Battlegrounds, both individually and in combination, including Battlegrounds' copyrighted unique game opening "air drop" feature, the game structure and play, the combination and selection of wearpons, armor, and unique objects, locations, and the overall choice of color schemes, materials, and textures.
Apple and Google are accused of distributing hundreds of millions of copies of the Free Fire apps, earning Garena "hundreds of millions of dollars" and netting Apple and Google a "substantial amount of revenue."

Garena's apps had more than 100 million daily users at the end of 2020, and in 2019 and 2020, Garena said that Free Fire was the most downloaded mobile game globally. Krafton estimates that Garena earned more than $2 billion in 2020, with $100 million of that coming from the U.S.

Apple on December 21, 2021 was told that Free Fire infringes on Krafton's PUBG copyrights, but Apple has not taken action to remove the game from the App Store.

The lawsuit goes into great detail on the PUBG gameplay functions that have been copied in the Free Fire apps, but ultimately Krafton is asking for damages and Apple and Google's profits from the sale of the Free Fire apps.

Krafton also had a dispute with NetEase over PUBG clones, but that lawsuit was settled in 2019, and the company also sued Epic Games over Fortnite, but ultimately dropped the lawsuit.

Apps that copy concepts and gameplay features from other apps are nothing new in the App Store, and clone apps have long been a problem. Just this week, in fact, Apple's App Store allowed several clones of popular web game "Wordle" onto the App Store, only pulling them after media outcry.

Article Link: PUBG Maker Sues Apple and Google for Not Removing Clone Apps
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Wildkraut

LawJolla

macrumors regular
Sep 29, 2013
128
847
As an IP attorney, they're on solid ground here if the games are substantially similar in look and feel.

Bethesda won a nice settlement against Warner Brothers for "stealing" Fallout Shelter for their Westworld game.

If Apple/Google are knowingly profiting from an infringing product, they are liable vicariously.
 

Stellarspace

macrumors newbie
Aug 1, 2018
20
9
As an IP attorney, they're on solid ground here if the games are substantially similar in look and feel.

Bethesda won a nice settlement against Warner Brothers for "stealing" Fallout Shelter for their Westworld game.

If Apple/Google are knowingly profiting from an infringing product, they are liable vicariously.
Why hasn't Epic Games been sued by PUBG?
 

MJaP

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2015
215
777
As far as I was aware I didn't think you could copyright gameplay mechanics, you can only protect "artwork" and rule wording if you're talking about board games. Zynga has made a living by ripping off other games.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors 604
Mar 4, 2003
6,538
6,192
Here’s one I hope succeeds. Don’t care about this game or its maker, but I’m sick and tired of trying to figure out which of every app is the real deal.

I suspect it’s going to be a matter of “where’s the line” though— is it a “copy”, or is it building on and improving an earlier concept. It’s really hard to filter garbage based on an abstract measure.
 

chromite

macrumors regular
Jul 6, 2013
180
625
As an IP attorney, they're on solid ground here if the games are substantially similar in look and feel.

Bethesda won a nice settlement against Warner Brothers for "stealing" Fallout Shelter for their Westworld game.

If Apple/Google are knowingly profiting from an infringing product, they are liable vicariously.
Wasn’t that because Warner bros literally used the same source code? There was a bug that was replicated
 

Stellarspace

macrumors newbie
Aug 1, 2018
20
9
As far as I was aware I didn't think you could copyright gameplay mechanics, you can only protect "artwork" and rule wording if you're talking about board games. Zynga has made a living by ripping off other games.
Yeah, and why should game developers be able to copyright gameplay? It would be a frenzy of a bunch of game developers suing each other because the game copies a reasonable portion of their game.
 

Wildkraut

macrumors 68020
Nov 8, 2015
2,147
3,583
Germany
But alternative app stores would have clones too... and we'd still be in this same place.

:)
Yeah, but then they would sue the infringing clone developer directly, instead of the gatekeeper who is not complying with laws. And the clone developer would have a hard time trying to distribute their cloned game. In that case Apples is a accomplice.
 

tgwaste

macrumors 65816
Sep 18, 2013
1,305
2,117
As an IP attorney, they're on solid ground here if the games are substantially similar in look and feel.

Bethesda won a nice settlement against Warner Brothers for "stealing" Fallout Shelter for their Westworld game.

If Apple/Google are knowingly profiting from an infringing product, they are liable vicariously.
Has it been established they are infringing? Have they sued these companies first and had a judge rule in their favor? You don't seem to be a very thorough IP attorney.
 

4jasontv

macrumors 603
Jul 31, 2011
5,437
6,386
This was bound to happen. As soon as they took action against Wordle companies that actually saw harm due to clones were going to take notice. Next up is Crush the Castle for not removing Angry Birds.

To be fair though, they did take action against the biggest infringer, Fortnight.
 

Trik

macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2011
360
1,120
Washington, DC
Damn... I'm surprised PUBG couldn't settle this with Apple behind closed doors. PUBG has seen a ton of marketing within the App Store since Apple kicked Fortnite out, which I feel like Apple promoted PUBG extensively just to piss off Epic.
 
Last edited:

Wildkraut

macrumors 68020
Nov 8, 2015
2,147
3,583
Germany
It's a major problem for Apple and Google but somehow it's generating lots of money.
Exactly and that's just one of Apples shady business practices.
Apple accepts high-flying cloned Apps in the AppStore, Apps that violates even Apples own rules, and say at the same time that they treat every Developer equally.

They privilege whatever makes money, doesn't matter if it's right or wrong, they walk over dead bodies for success.
 

4jasontv

macrumors 603
Jul 31, 2011
5,437
6,386
As an IP attorney, they're on solid ground here if the games are substantially similar in look and feel.

Bethesda won a nice settlement against Warner Brothers for "stealing" Fallout Shelter for their Westworld game.

If Apple/Google are knowingly profiting from an infringing product, they are liable vicariously.
JEEZ LawJolla, you need to be more thorough when making unpaid comments on a message board. I expect to see you discuss all points of legal address, even if it's not relevant to the conversation. You can add non-significant references to appendix B. For example, what does maritime law say about this specific situation? For each statement explain why it is or isn't relevant. Only citations made using the 19th edition of Bluebook will be accepted.
 

Trik

macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2011
360
1,120
Washington, DC
As an IP attorney, they're on solid ground here if the games are substantially similar in look and feel.

Bethesda won a nice settlement against Warner Brothers for "stealing" Fallout Shelter for their Westworld game.

If Apple/Google are knowingly profiting from an infringing product, they are liable vicariously.

PUBG is responsible for protecting their IP right? Meaning, if Apple had pulled the app on 12/21/21, assuming that was the first time they were alerted to the Copyright claim, they wouldn't be able to claim damages?

I suspect that Apple is going to say "sorry" and then argue they would only owe the sales from 12/21 until the day they pull the app, since that was the date they were alerted to the infringement claim.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jinnj
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.