Ubisoft Sues Apple and Google Over Distribution of Alleged 'Ripoff' Game

Ubisoft Entertainment this week levied a lawsuit against Apple and Google, accusing them of selling a "ripoff" of its popular video game Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, reports Bloomberg.


Ubisoft filed a complaint in federal court in Los Angeles, claiming that the game "Area F2," developed by Qookka Games, is a "near carbon copy" of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, aiming to "piggyback" off its popularity. Ubisoft said that it has notified Apple and Google that Area F2 is infringing its copyrights, but both companies have refused to remove the game from the Google Play and Apple App stores.

As one of Ubisoft's most valuable intellectual properties, Rainbow Six: Siege is played as a competitive e-sport, has 55 million registered players worldwide, and according to Ubisoft’s copyright infringement claim, is played by more than three million users every day. Ubisoft argues that the lawsuit can't be "seriously disputed" and that "virtually every aspect of AF2" is copied from Rainbow Six: Siege, "from the operator selection screen to the final scoring screen, and everything in between."

Ubisoft did not elaborate on why it is suing the app store operators for enabling distribution of the game rather than developer Qookka Games itself for the initial infringement. Qookka Games, owned by Alibaba’s Ejoy, is located in China, potentially making an international copyright claim more difficult. It remains unclear whether Ubisoft plans to file a separate lawsuit against the developer, in addition to app store operators.

Area F2 has over 75,000 reviews on the Google Play Store, and more than 2,000 on Apple's App Store, and many reviews on both platforms directly note the similarities to Ubisoft's title. Google and Apple have not yet responded to Bloomberg's requests for a comment.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
18 weeks ago
Copyright infringement from China? The hell you say....
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 weeks ago


And to be clear, by taking a cut of sales on the App Store, if it was properly notified and did not act, a platform maker like Apple, who controls the distribution channel for its platform, is directly and deliberately profiting from the infringement. If Apple is aware of it and continues to sell it, they have a potential problem.

Not so fast. Apple is not the person to determine ownership of intellectual property if there is a dispute. Thats the job of the courts. If a lawsuit were to happen between the two parties over ownership a judge could grant an injunction to NOT PAY those Royalties because the results of the copyright lawsuit is pending..but they are not suing for ownership...they are suing Apple for distributing what someone else claims is theirs. Losing case, and they know it. Wouldnt be surprised if this got thrown out. They are hoping the negative press will make Apple and Google remove it so no money is made from it. Imagine if I said..Hey that Emimen song sounds like mine. Suing Apple because its on AppleMusic...and every other streaming service as well...and also any record store that sells Eminem...not how it works. I gotta sue Marshall Mathers and get the money owed to me FROM HIM. Apple has ZERO responsibility to investigate ownership since to get it into the App Store you are saying you legally own it, and if you dont YOU are liable for damages and possibly jail time.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 weeks ago
Ubisoft is suing the distributors (Apple and Google) to block the distribution and sale of the game. They're doing that because they know they don't stand a chance of a favorable outcome against Alibaba in a Chinese court.

It will be interesting to see the responses from Apple and Google. One of them desperately wants to get back into China (Google) and the other desperately wants to stay in China (Apple).
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 weeks ago
While I am not a lawyer...
This seems like a weird move to try to put the impetus on Apple/Google to be the arbiters of what are “safe” similarities and what are not.... none of the app submissions guys working at Apple or Google passed the bar, worked their way up to being a judge, and have clear & definitive knowledge of copyright nuances in every area they operate in.

Think of it like this:
Wrangler starts using Levi rivets in their jeans, so Levis sues............ Walmart?


Not so fast. Apple is not the person to determine ownership of intellectual property if there is a dispute. Thats the job of the courts. If a lawsuit were to happen between the two parties over ownership a judge could grant an injunction to NOT PAY those Royalties because the results of the copyright lawsuit is pending..but they are not suing for ownership...they are suing Apple for distributing what someone else claims is theirs. Losing case, and they know it. Wouldnt be surprised if this got thrown out. They are hoping the negative press will make Apple and Google remove it so no money is made from it. Imagine if I said..Hey that Emimen song sounds like mine. Suing Apple because its on AppleMusic...and every other streaming service as well...and also any record store that sells Eminem...not how it works. I gotta sue Marshall Mathers and get the money owed to me FROM HIM. Apple has ZERO responsibility to investigate ownership since to get it into the App Store you are saying you legally own it, and if you dont YOU are liable for damages and possibly jail time.

THIS! 1000x
This would set a bizarre precedent & open the floodgates forcing Apple to hear every perceived grievance.
I wonder how long app submissions would take if Apple employees in that department were spending 99% of their time responding to thousands of claims from devs that competitors are too much like them, & busy trying to cross reference every single other app that has come out in the past decade to scour for similarities, so they don’t get sued.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 weeks ago


Ubisoft is suing the distributors (Apple and Google) to block the distribution and sale of the game. They're doing that because they know they don't stand a chance of a favorable outcome against Alibaba in a Chinese court.

It will be interesting to see the responses from Apple and Google. One of them desperately wants to get back into China (Google) and the other desperately wants to stay in China (Apple).

And to be clear, by taking a cut of sales on the App Store, if it was properly notified and did not act, a platform maker like Apple, who controls the distribution channel for its platform, is directly and deliberately profiting from the infringement. If Apple is aware of it and continues to sell it, they have a potential problem.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 weeks ago


This is 100% not true. Apple and Google can make a decision regarding any app in their app stores without a judgment by the court. They do it all the time. There have been numerous articles on MR and other tech sites about Apple removing apps, removing and reinstating apps, requiring apps to modify function. Both companies can make a decision to remove the offending app at anytime with no input from the courts.

Unfortunately, everything you wrote is wrong. IANAL but I know it's 100% the responsibility of Apple and Google (A/G) to ensure the apps in their respective stores aren't violating IP laws. Not ZERO. Just like it's the responsibility of a brick & mortar store owner to ensure they aren't selling counterfeits. Ubisoft says they notified both companies and neither removed the game. Neither did. Which apparently lead Ubisoft to sue to block distribution. Most likely what they thought to be the most effective way to ensure EJoy doesn't unfairly benefit from Ubi's IP.

Your music analogy was a poor choice. If you said a song from Slim Shady sounded like yours, you'd have recourse in the DMCA. In this hypothetical, you could request to have the song taken down from iTunes, Youtube, Spotify, etc.

"Suing Apple because its on AppleMusic...and every other streaming service as well...and also any record store that sells Eminem...not how it works." - you

↑↑↑ - "That's exactly how it works." - me

Ubisoft in real life, and you in your hypothetical, could potentially sue anyone in the distribution chain including end users.

Nope you are 10000% incorrect.

You say Apple takes things down and makes people change apps all the time. Yes they do because they have not adhered to APPLES rules on Apps. NEVER for copyright infringement WITHOUT a court judgement. I know this PERSONALLY.

Please show me instances of Apple removing an App because it was too similar to another app? If so why are there hundreds of Solitaire games? They are all similar....

Apple is NOT required by law to go through every app and DECIDE whether its too close to another app. Its not their job and thats what a court is for.

Again you are wrong when it comes to a music copyright. If my song sounded like a Slim Shady song, I can REQUEST it to be removed from everywhere (anyone can request anything ...free country) but guess what...NO ONE WOULD have to do anything because a dispute in ownership has to be decided in a court of law.

Remember the Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines" case. Well Marvin Gaye's estate said the song sounded too much like a Marvin Gaye song. Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams who wrote it said no it was different. iTunes didnt stop selling it. No one pulled it. No one stopped streaming it. No brick and mortar store stopped selling it. Not one of those entities were sued. Marvin Gaye's estate sued the WRITERS of that song for copyright infringement. It went to court and Marvin Gaye's estate was awarded millions from Robin Thicke and Pharrell NOT iTunes or any store for selling it. No store got sued and no one pulled it. Not Apple's job.

Countefeit goods has ZERO to do with Copyrights. Its illegal to sell counterfeit and if a store is doing so, they can be sued as well as arrested. That has nothing to do with this.

The game in question isn't a counterfeit. It's not calling itself Rainbow 6 by Ubisoft. Its a game that is similar. Is it too similar? Thats what a court decides.

Here is a good one...what if...the developer of game #1 leaves the company they worked for and takes his code with him as part of his agreement with that company. That code is then sold to another company and they release game #2 with that code. Its similar because its the same code...but it was purchased legally...is that copyright infringement?

That's what the legal system is for. It may be far more complex than it is on the surface. Apple didnt remove it because unless a court has said its copyright infringement then it isn't.

When Microsoft released Windows...did Apple sue every computer store for selling it? No they sued Microsoft for copyright infringement.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of 3rd party widgets at launch, iOS users around the...

iPhone 12 Lineup Rumored to Be Named 'iPhone 12 mini,' 'iPhone 12,' 'iPhone 12 Pro,' and 'iPhone 12 Pro Max'

Monday September 21, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared the alleged naming for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup on Twitter. The tweet proposes that the upcoming iPhone 12 models will be titled "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max." The names likely correspond to the three expected sizes of iPhone 12, with the 5.4-inch model being the iPhone 12 mini, the 6.7-inch model ...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

AirPods Studio Rumored to Come With U1 Chip, Ultra-Wideband Said to Be Vital to Future Apple Ecosystem

Sunday September 20, 2020 6:17 am PDT by
Proven leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared a range of information about the ultra-wideband U1 chip in Apple's upcoming AirTags item trackers and AirPods Studio headphones. The first of a series of tweets shared today simply stated that AirPods Studio will contain an ultra-wideband U1 chip. It seems likely that the U1 chip would be used in AirPods Studio to track the location of...

Kuo: Apple to Accelerate Adoption of Mini-LED Displays in iPad and Mac Notebook Lineups

Sunday September 20, 2020 10:00 pm PDT by
Increased competition among Apple's suppliers for mini-LED display chips will accelerate the company's adoption of the advanced technology in its iPad and MacBook lineups, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. Kuo says that while Epistar had been predicted to be the exclusive supplier of mini-LED chips for Apple products in 2021, Sanan Optoelectronics...

Top Stories: Apple Event Recap, Apple Watch Series 6, Redesigned iPad Air, and More

Saturday September 19, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week's news was obviously dominated by Apple's media event and the launch of iOS 14, but there was a lot to digest, so check out our summary below for the high-level view of the past week. With the exception of the massively redesigned iPad Air, all of the new hardware introduced this week is starting to appear on store shelves and on customers' doorsteps, while all of the new software...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...