Gaming: Japan’s Gree Wins $92M Verdict Against Supercell
A patent feud between two major gaming companies in Asia has resulted in a big court-ordered payment for the smaller company in the feud. That feud is between Japanese gaming company Gree and Chinese gaming giant Tencent, actually its subsidiary Supercell, that’s resulted in a big monetary damages award for Gree.
- Although both Gree and Tencent are based in Asia, the legal feud that resulted in a verdict against Tencent was fought in the US, precisely in Texas.
- A federal jury in Marshall, Texas has ordered Tencent’s Supercell gaming division to pay $92.2mn in damages to Gree after finding it guilty of violating Gree’s patents.
- Supercell is Tencent’s Finland-based mobile gaming division that it acquired in a $10bn deal in 2016. It’s best known for its Clash of Clans hit mobile game.
- The patent feud between Gree and Supercell began last year when Gree sued the Finnish game developer for allegedly infringing on its patents. The patents centered on features in “freemium” games, a wordplay between “free” and “premium”, that lets users download and play games for free with the options to purchase in-game content to generate revenue for developers.
- Gree accused Supercell of infringing its patents for ways to make freemium games work, including storing gamers’ information, ways to carry out virtual “battles” between players, and determining the frequency of purchasing valuable in-game items.
- The patent feud last year resulted in an $8.5mn verdict against Supercell, now with the latest $92mn verdict to add. Another third trial on the case is scheduled for later this year.
- Gree claimed that Supercell made about $3bn from three games where it allegedly infringed on its patents; Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and Hay Day. In defense, Supercell argued that such patents were invalid, being game monetization methods adopted globally with no individual company having claim to them.
- To note, a verdict against Supercell doesn’t mean the amount is guaranteed to be paid to Gree. Supercell could appeal the case and see its court-ordered penalty slashed by a large amount or even scrapped totally.
- “Supercell respects the jury system, but is of course disappointed in the verdict,” the company said in a statement. “Supercell plans to appeal.”