Judge Won’t Stop|Video Game Sales


     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge Wednesday refused to prevent a video game company from selling its war game “Heroes Charge,” despite a competitor’s claim it was developed with stolen source code.
     Shanghai-based Lilith Games claims California-based uCool swiped 240,000 lines of copyrighted software code for the video game “The Legend of Sword and Tower,” and used it to develop the “significantly similar” “Heroes Charge.”
     Lilith sued uCool in March, alleging copyright violations and theft of trade secrets. It sought a preliminary injunction in May.
     During arguments before U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti on Sept. 11, uCool claimed that Lilith’s request for an injunction is moot because it has rewritten the “Heroes Charge” source code using a different programming language.
     But an expert for Lilith said the code is still significantly similar to the “Sword and Tower” source code, including sections that were “literally copied and are identical,” or were “copied and then translated, modified, reordered, or otherwise obscured in such a way that common code comparison programs would not be able to detect the similarities.”
     Conti ruled that Lilith’s motion is not moot because more than 99 percent of users continue to use the allegedly infringing version of “Heroes Charge.”
     Lilith said a preliminary injunction is justified because it stands to suffer imminent and irreparable harm.
     Conti found, however, that though Lilith is likely to prove ownership, access and substantial similarity, and that it claims the “Sword and Tower” code was a trade secret that was misappropriated, a preliminary injunction is more likely to unduly harm the defendant, uCool.
     “Lilith has failed to establish that it will suffer imminent harm that cannot be remedied with monetary damages,” Conti wrote in Wednesday’s 31-page order. “A preliminary injunction at this juncture would be inappropriate. … Further, because of the extent of the irreparable harm to the defendant if the injunction is granted, the balance of equities tips decidedly in uCool’s favor.”
     Both parties agreed during the Sept. 11 hearing that they could be ready for trial in nine months.

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