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Successful Representation of King.com in Unfair Competition Case

King.com is a game company best known for “Candy Crush Sage.” Avocado Entertainment, a Korean game company, started servicing “Forest Mania,” a game that was substantially similar to one of King.com’s games, “Farm Hero’s Saga.” Lee & Ko’s IP Practice Group acted as legal counsel for King.com in a copyright infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against Avocado, seeking damage compensation and an injunction against Avocado’s servicing of Forest Mania. On October 30, 2015, the Seoul Central District Court issued the requested injunction and ordered Avocado to pay approximately KRW 1.6 billion as damages to King.com. This ruling is particularly significant as the court recognized that the launching of a game that copies another well-known game with slight changes to characters and/or visual design aspects can be sufficient to constitute unfair competition pursuant to Article 2(1)(j) of the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act (which provision was added in January, 2014 as a response to a newly emerging type of unfair competition based on relatively superficial technical alterations) even in factual circumstances that would not amount to copyright infringement. The ruling is expected to have a significant impact on developments in the Korean game industry in the future.

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