According to Chinese business data platform Tianyancha, litigation documents filed by miHoYo, the developer of video games including Genshin Impact, against three entities under 37 Interactive Entertainment were recently made public. The documents show that miHoYo has sued the three parties for tampering with and using images from Genshin Impact without authorization.
The plaintiff, miHoYo, claimed that the defendant, SKYCORE, infringed its copyright by tampering with images of “Knights of the West Wind,” which is in miHoYo’s game “Genshin Impact,” when SKYCORE posted ads with its official account on WeChat. miHoYo also claimed that SKYCORE intentionally confused the relationship between the defendant’s game “Song of the Castle in the Sky-Legend of Brave,” “Genshin Impact” and the plaintiff, misleading consumers and constituting unfair competition. Song of the Castle in the Sky is jointly operated by 37 Network and Jiaqu Network.
SKYCORE is a wholly-owned subsidiary of 37 Network, which is in turn held by 37 Interactive Entertainment. SKYCORE stated that its behavior did not constitute unfair competition, and the amount of compensation claimed by miHoYo was too high. Jiaqu Network said that it was unaware of the ads of SKYCORE and did not benefit from them.
37 Network believes that the company is neither an operator nor an adviser, and it is unaware of the alleged behavior of SKYCORE. Thus, it believes the actions do not constitute joint infringement. Additionally, the ads involved has limited influence, so, it does not constitute false promotion.
The court holds that SKYCORE published pictures substantially similar to miHoYo’s works in its WeChat official account, and this act infringed the plaintiff’s right to disseminate information online. The infringement of SKYCORE confuses senior players, mistakenly thinking that “Genshin Impact” is related to “Song of the Castle in the Sky-Legend of the Brave,” which constitutes unfair competition. In the end, the court ruled that SKYCORE compensated miHoYo for 30,000 yuan ($4,439).
“Genshin Impact” is the most famous game owned by miHoYo. According to the Sensor Tower report, in June 2022, mobile game players around the world paid about $6.4 billion in App Store and Google Play. miHoYo’s “Genshin Impact” mobile terminal ranked second in the list with a revenue of $154 million, an increase of 58.5% over June 2021. Among them, 44% of the revenue comes from its iOS market in China, and the revenue from Japan market accounts for 25.5%.