Legal Reader

Lawsuits Filed Related to Pokemon GO Mobile Game

Image courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pokemon_centre.jpg

A lawsuit was filed seeking class action status on July 29, 2016, against Pokemon Company, Niantic, Inc. and Nintendo Co. LTD related to the Pokemon GO mobile game. The lawsuit was filed by Jeffrey Marder in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, NDA. The suit alleges that the plaintiffs Pokemon GO mobile game players continually trespass or linger in groups along the boundary of their property while playing the wildly popular game and have become a nuisance.

Pokemon GO was released in July 2016. Players must walk to different places to find virtual creatures that they can battle, capture and train. According to the Los Angeles Times, the game has been downloaded almost 100 million times since its release. The game has been touted as allowing people to get exercise, raising revenues in stores and raising the number of visitors to public parks.

Image courtesy of Health Gauge, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/36/Concept_behind_development_of_Pokemon_Go.jpg

The plaintiff in the lawsuit is seeking damages, including a percentage of the profits that is made from the game. The company uses GPS coordinates to place the virtual creatures throughout the nation and does not restrict the coordinates to public land. The plaintiff’s claim that they should share in the revenue because the company is using their private property for its game and is, therefore, being unjustly enriched.

In August, 2016, a Michigan couple, Scott and Jayme Dodich, filed a lawsuit closely related to the above noted lawsuit. According to Ubergizmo website, the lawsuit states, “Nobody gets sleep anymore. How is this acceptable? … (Players) hang out on our lawns, trample landscaping, look in vehicles … We don’t feel safe … I don’t feel safe sitting on our porch.” That couple is also seeking a share in the revenues made from the game. It also seeks to force the company to stop placing GPS coordinate on or near private property without the owner’s permission.

Still another lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed against Niantic alleging that it engages in unfair business practices. The case was filed in the 15th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida. The plaintiffs claim that the Pokemon GO game’s Terms of Service that must be agreed to before the game can be downloaded collects the players personal information from third parties including Facebook and Google. According to Bigclassaction.com, “the license allegedly gives Niantic the right to retain and share users’ data, including players’ location, recent web history, search terms and user messages, in perpetuity.” The lawsuit seeks damages and a judgment to make the Terms of Service the Privacy Policy unenforceable.

I am guessing that there will be lots of people joining the lawsuits if class action status is obtained. While everyone is happy to see people out and about, they are not thrilled that their personal space is being invaded by those who play the game.

Sources

Pokemon GO Lawsuit

Los Angeles Times

Ubergizmo website

Unfair Business Practices

Bigclassaction.com

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