WeMade Entertainment, which is currently engaged in a legal battle with China’s Shanda Games over the intellectual property (IP) rights of its popular game “The Legend of Mir,” denied rumors of the sale of the company.
During an interview with reporters at the headquarters in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, on December 26, WeMade CEO Chang Hyun-guk said, “We are in litigation with Shanda but it is not true that we are selling the company to Shanda. We still have meetings with Shanda several times to settle amicably but we have never talked about the sale of shares.”
The Legend of Mir is jointly owned by WeMade and Actoz Soft, a subsidiary of Shanda. The game is more popular in China than in Korea. Moreover, it was the first game ever done by people who is now working in the Chinese gaming industry when they were young.
However, WeMade has failed to exercise its rights on internet games which have produced in China using the IP of The Legend of Mir, though it has the joint IP ownership. This is because most of them were developed without permission and IP contracts. Accordingly, WeMade has decided to exercise its rights on these games in earnest starting from this year.
The company is making an independent movement because its Chinese partner, Shanda, is not giving credibility. Shanda provides games using the IP of The Legend of Mir without the consent of WeMade and has filed for an injunction to stop offering game services of The Legend of Mir in China that were separately signed by WeMade.
In fact, the Chinese authorities found out that game companies which illegally used the IP of The Legend of Mir make about 1 trillion won (US$832.29 million) a year. Since The Legend of Mir is so popular in China, there are many games that illegally use its IP.
Chang said, “We expect to make 50 billion won (US$41.61 million) in royalties related to The Legend of Mir this year, and royalties we haven’t received yet will reach another 50 billion won (US$41.61 million). When we exercise the rights properly, the corporate value of WeMade will be much higher.” Currently, the company has an annual turnover of 110 billion won to 120 billion won (US$91.55 million to 99.88 million).
In particular, Chang stressed that WeMade cannot lose the IP of The Legend of Mir to Shanda. He said WeMade will still have the joint ownership for the IP of The Legend of Mir even when the company lose all ongoing lawsuits. The suits are to be evaluated the IP rights that haven’t been recognized so far so there will be no changes in royalties to receive even when the company lose the cases.
Chang said, “We wanted to clarify that we are now in litigation to get money that we should have received, not to protect the IP of The Legend of Mir. After we demand due rights on the IP, we will expand The Legend of Mir IP business to areas like webtoons and web novels as well as games.”