A man in New Jersey has filed a class-action lawsuit against Nintendo, the Pokémon Company, and Niantic, claiming that Pokémon Go has “made unauthorized use of Plaintiff’s and other Class members’ property by placing Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms thereupon or nearby”. Obligatory “gotta sue ’em all” joke.
According to Jeffrey Marder’s complaint, “at least five individuals” have bothered him at his house, requesting access to the back garden to catch Pokémon there. AT LEAST FIVE INDIVIDUALS, YOU GUYS. What a calamity.
“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,” he argued.
I mean, it’s ostensibly kind of ridiculous, but maybe he has a point. I’m not convinced that Pokémon Go endorses trespassing or implies any sort of permission to do so, exactly – in fact, a recent update to the game explicitly warns against doing this – but what rights do companies have to represent real, private properties in digital space? That’s an interesting question. Whether or not Niantic is legally liable for its players’ behaviour is another thing entirely.