DeNA’s fishing game violates Gree’s copyright: court

Kyodo

The Tokyo District Court on Thursday ordered DeNA Co. to suspend delivery of its popular cellphone fishing game and pay about ¥230 million in damages to rival Gree Inc. for infringing on its copyright.

DeNA, operator of the Mobage mobile phone game site, immediately filed an appeal with the Tokyo High Court.

Despite the ruling, DeNA will still be able to provide the game to users as the three-judge panel attached no provisional execution order.

Nevertheless, legal representatives for Gree — which had filed the suit against DeNA in 2009 — hailed the ruling as the first time a domestic court has acknowledged a copyright violation involving cellphone games and ordered a site operator to suspend delivery of a game.

DeNA offers the “Tsuri-ge-town 2” fishing game on its site, while the plaintiff provides the “Tsurista” fishing game on its rival Gree game service for mobile phones.

In handing down the ruling, presiding Judge Masayuki Abe said that DeNA had modeled its first fishing game on the “Tsurista” game Gree had originally developed, infringing upon the company’s copyright.

Gree produced and started providing its “Tsurista” game to users in 2007. The following year, DeNA launched its first fishing game and unveiled “Tsuri-ge-town 2,” its successor, in 2009. While developing its second fishing game, DeNA conducted a user survey via questionnaires to compare its first game with Gree’s “Tsurista,” the court’s findings showed.

Gree was founded in Tokyo in 2004 and offers games free of charge to cellphone users, while DeNA launched its Mobage Town portal and social game service two years later. Last year, the site’s name was shortened to just Mobage.