Japan’s No. 2 Mobile Social Gaming GREE Sues No. 1 DeNA (Mobage-town) Over Fishing Game



Bad blood in Japan’s mobile social gaming scene: The country’s second biggest company in that area, GREE [JP, Asiajin articles], has filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court today, suing the No. 1 player and main competitor DeNA (Asiajin articles) for copyright infringement (both of these companies are listed and are large-cap by the way).

GREE says a fishing game they developed has been copied by DeNA for their mobile social gaming platform Mobage-town, which has the largest user base among any mobile-only social network in Japan (14.5 million at the end of June 2009 vs. GREE’s 12.6 million at the same time). Specifically, DeNA is accused of having copied elements like the game’s top page or the fish-catching game mechanics.

GREE seeks an injunction and damages, saying DeNA is violating copyright and unfair-competition laws. Japanese media are reporting that both companies have been negotiating over this issue for months now until GREE finally decided to take the rival to court today.

Here’s a video that explains (in English) how Tsuri Star 2, GREE’s wildly popular fishing game, works:

GREE claims they are seeing one million new members each month since May and this is two to three times higher than their competition so the ranks mentioned in this article have to be taken with a grain of salt.

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Dr. Serkan Toto is a German based in Tokyo. Like us, he is passionate about introducing Japanese IT to the rest of the world. Full-time, Serkan works as an independent web industry consultant for hedge funds, venture capital companies and start-ups worldwide. He is also a writer for mega tech blog network TechCrunch, covering Japan-related technology and web trends. This is Serkan's website. Follow Serkan on Twitter here.