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Gaming Companies Locked in IPR Battle
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On August 13, Founder Electronics Co., Ltd., one of Founder Group's subsidiaries, officially filed a lawsuit against Blizzard Entertainment, a US game giant.

Founder, China's leading IT enterprise, claims Blizzard has committed intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement by using its products without permission or payment. In its lawsuit taken up by the Higher People's Court of Beijing, the company is asking for 100 million yuan (about US$ 13.19 million) as compensation from Blizzard.

Founder said that without authorization, Blizzard used Founder's five types of Chinese characters in its Chinese version of World of Warcraft. These character styles are included in the "Founder Font" that has been exclusively owned by Founder since it was developed by the company in 1974.

World of Warcraft is an online game developed by Blizzard in 2003, grossing nearly 70 percent of the company's entire game-generated profits. Launched on the Chinese mainland in 2005, the game has attracted 3.5 million Chinese players and reaped large profits for Blizzard.

Founder argues that with World of Warcraft's very strong presence on the Chinese market, Blizzard has caused over 1 billion yuan in damages. However, the company declined to comment why it only claimed for 100 million yuan in its lawsuit, a small portion of the alleged damages. Meanwhile, it did not want to reveal where its evidences came from but promised to offer relevant explanations later on.  

In addition, as the mainland's exclusive subscription service provider for the Chinese version of World of Warcraft, The9 Limited may have to take on some of the responsibility for the IPR violation. Founder says it is up to the court to decide whether or not The9 Limited will be involved in the case.   

(China.org.cn by Pang Li, August 14, 2007)

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