Each Saturday, in "Zoom out", Axel de Tarlé returns to an economic or societal fact that marked the week. Today, he returns to the plagiarism complaint filed by the French video game developer Ubisoft against the two American giants Apple and Google.
It's "Asterix, The Gallic" against "the Romans", video game version. Or, a revisited version of "David vs Goliath". The small Breton video game manufacturer Ubisoft sues the American giants Apple and Google for plagiarism.
This story is too good to miss. Imagine the ring, the fight. On my right, the little Breton Ubisoft, manufacturer of video games, based in Rennes. Market value: eight billion euros. And to my left: Apple and Google, two giants that each weigh 1.4 trillion dollars, 150 times more. What crush the little French. Well, believe it or not, the Breton Ubisoft, wants to do both, and at the same time. Ubisoft has just attacked the Los Angeles Court, Google and Apple, both.
Why ? What is the reason for this extraordinary fight?
For a month, Google and Apple have offered to download a Chinese video game, developed by the giant Alibaba. A video game which is, according to Ubisoft, "the certified copy" of the game developed in France by its engineers in Rennes, "Rainbow 6: Headquarters". However, this game is the cash cow of the French group with three million daily users. And so, the little Breton obviously can't bear to see that there is plagiarism and he wants to assert his rights.
But Axel, if I understood correctly, it is a Chinese company which is at the origin of plagiarism. So why isn't Ubisoft directly attacking this Chinese company? (rather than attacking Google and Apple)
Ubisoft obviously has only moderate confidence in Chinese justice, and fears that the procedure will never be successful. And this is where this very instructive story. There is a lot of talk about the emergence of China, which would become the first world power. Except that to do business, you need a functioning rule of law that inspires confidence.
And you see, this story is very revealing. In China, your business can be cut short at any time, for lack of effective justice. This is obviously an enormous obstacle to doing business there, the lack of confidence, a limit to this Chinese expansionism.
Whereas in the United States, you see, even if you are a (very small) Breton, you know that you have (all the same) your chances, facing two mammoths of Silicon Valley, Apple and Google. And so, we wish Ubisoft good luck in its fight to assert its rights.