W&B's case involving the online game
Hearthstone can serve as a useful example in answer to
this question. In that case, recognized as a 2015 Top 10 Landmark
Shanghai Case, W&B represented plaintiff Blizzard Entertainment
Inc., and determined that the keys to effective enforcement in that
case arose from the following principles: (i) unauthorized use of
the unique packaging of a well-known product; (ii) false
advertising; and (iii) plagiarism of the core intellectual property
of the game (i.e. game rules) that violated the principles of
consent, equality, fairness and honesty and constituted unfair
competition. Among these keys, the application of the basic
principles of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law to protect the core
intellectual property of the game was the main issue.
By nature, game rules can be classified as "ideas"
rather than the "expressions of ideas" that are protected
under the Copyright Law; consequently, game rules cannot be
protected under the Copyright Law. Nevertheless, since Article 2 of
the Anti-Unfair Competition Law provides that operators should
abide by the principles of consent, equality, fairness and honesty
in market transactions and should comply with commonly recognized
business ethics, the court ultimately ruled in our client's
favor that the defendant's conduct (i) violated the
self-regulation conventions of the gaming industry and (ii) ran
counter to basic business ethics, leading to the feasibility and
necessity of applying Article 2 of the Anti-Unfair Competition
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