The internet titan Tencent, which owns the No. 1 messaging app in China, has filed a lawsuit against the developer and operator of the decentralized “WeChat” over “unfair competition dispute”, asking for 10 million yuan($1.43 million) in compensation, Chinese news outlet Beijing Morning Post reported on Wednesday.
Tencent, Asia’s most valuable tech firm,accused the instant messenger dApp known as inChat of “almost identical” to its WeChat and using words like “WeChat , or “Weixin as it’s known in China” in its marketing campaign to mislead investors and consumers.
Then the tech giant brought inChat’s developer Chips Limited and its operator fir.im to court, requesting the two plaintiffs to immediately stop any infringing activity and to issue a issue statement to eliminate the impact. Tencent also demands million yuan($1.43 million) for its economic loss and lawsuit expense from these two firms .
Haidian District Court in Beijing now is handling the case.
inChat, launched on August 1,2018, is an encrypted communications tool using blockchain technology which provides secure messaging and digital assets payment services, according to its website. As for now, the Dapp has over 1.3 million registered users.
As plagiarism is still rampant in China, inChat not only offers the services and functions quite similar to those of WeChat, it also presents the same interface design, designations,and icons. Further, Chips Limited describes the dApp as the “WeChat in the crypto space”, “ digital currency WeChat” or “blockchain WeChat” in marketing activities, taking advantage of the China’s most popular messenger-to-payment app to mislead people to download it.
Tencent has sent a letter to the two plaintiffs requesting them to halt their marketing activities and download services. However, the two companies failed and refused to meet Tencent’s request. Then their delayed response caused a huge amount of traffic to the inChat website and downloads of the dApp during a short period of time, severely infringing upon Tencent’s rights and interests.
inChant has not responded to requests for comment.
Founded in January 2011, Tencent’s WeChat has become an inseparable part of Chinese everyday lives.It has more than 1 billion monthly active users who chat, play games, pay bills, post their thoughts and images, shop, book doctor appointments, among other things, inside the app. WeChat boasts many featuring functions such as “Moments”, “Scan”and “ WeChat Pay”.
*Edited based on an article from 8btc.