Krafton & NetEase get their day in court over PUBG inspiration dispute

Despite being settled back in 2019 Krafton still claims that two of NetEase’s titles infringe their copyright

Krafton & NetEase get their day in court over PUBG inspiration dispute

Krafton and NetEase have appeared in court for their ongoing lawsuit levied by Krafton claiming that two of NetEase’s battle royale titles - Knives Out and Rules of Survival - infringed on their PUBG copyright.

Although originally settled back in 2019, Krafton went on to claim that NetEase violated the agreements of the settlement later in 2023. NetEase would admit that a violation had occurred in their response to the complaint, but claimed that this had been voluntarily rectified. They would claim that the ongoing legal action was inappropriate as this violation, they claim, was inadvertent, singular and voluntarily resolved.

However, this doesn’t seem to be enough for Krafton. The complaint itself relates to a specific term in the agreement and whether or not it was applied in the correct context. It’s a complex legal matter involving disagreements over definitions, with NetEase citing it outside of its original context, but Krafton (via PUBG) claiming it should only be understood in reference to previous documentation within the case.

Handbags at dawn

The ongoing nature of the disagreement certainly indicates a possible frustration on PUBG and Krafton’s part in the nature of protecting their IP. There’s no denying that, especially on mobile, concepts like battle royale have exploded in popularity. And although PUBG Mobile remains a massive heavy-hitter, on consoles it has lagged behind rivals such as Fortnite, perhaps explaining why Krafton are eager to root out those titles that inch too close to outright infringement.

NetEase itself is no stranger to litigation or public disagreements, including the highly publicised breakup with former partner Activision Blizzard, and erroneous reports that they had levelled a suit against them as a result. Although the latter turned out to be the work of a serial litigator, this latest disagreement looks set to be resolved in court - whether to either party’s satisfaction is yet to be seens.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.