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Pokémon Go trespassing spurs lawsuit against Nintendo, Pokemon Company and Niantic

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Gotta sue 'em all

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A New Jersey man is suing the companies behind Pokémon Go after discovering that a augmented reality Pokémon in his backyard was attracting strangers to his home, according to the suit.

Plaintiff Jeffrey Marder says that Niantic placed Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms on private property without the owner’s consent. He said he discovered this, according to the suit, after strangers began lingering outside his home with their phones in hand.

"At least five individuals knocked on plaintiff’s door and asked for access to plaintiff’s backyard in order to ‘catch’ Pokémon that the game had placed in Plaintiff’s residence in West Orange, New Jersey — without plaintiff’s permission," according to the suit.

The suit, which is seeking class action status, goes on to note that Marder’s situation isn’t unusual, pointing to a slew of other examples including that of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., which became the unwanted home to some Pokémon .

Marder says the players are interfering with the use and enjoyment of his home. He says that developer Niantic as well as Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are profiting from a game that can have players traipsing through private property.

"To create that immersive world, Niantic made unauthorized use of Plaintiff’s and other Class members’ property by placing Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms thereupon or nearby," according to the suit. "In so doing, Niantic has encouraged Pokémon Go’s millions of players to make unwanted incursions onto the properties of Plaintiff and other members of the class — a clear and ongoing invasion of their use and enjoyment of their land from which Defendants have profited and continue to profit. "

The suit asks to include "all persons in the United States who own property (i) the GPS coordinates of which were designated by Defendants, without authorization, as Pokéstops or Pokémon gyms in the Pokémon Go mobile application or (ii) abutting property the GPS coordinates of which were designated by Defendants, without authorization, as Pokéstops or Pokémon gyms in the Pokémon Go mobile application."

At the heart of the suit are two pretty straight forward legal questions put forward in the July 29 filing:

  • Is the game enticing people to trespass on private property?
  • Are the defendants profiting from that?

Niantic, The Pokémon Company and Nintendo have 21 days to respond to the suit. (You can see both the suit and the notices below.) We’ve reached out to all three and will update this story when they respond.

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