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The Makers of Pokémon Go Face $5 Million Class-Action Lawsuit

Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

Pokemon GoThe popular new mobile game, Pokémon Go, has finally caused property owners to react with legal action. The proposed class action lawsuit was filed by a New Jersey man who claims the game’s developer places Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms on private property without the owner’s permission. Along with Niantic, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The application works by using smartphone cameras and GPS to place Pokémon, Pokéstops and Pokémon Gyms on real world images and maps. The objective of the game is to find and capture the mythical creatures known as "Pokémon" by traveling to real-world locations. The game has reportedly resulted in players trespassing onto private property and chasing Pokémon in places like cemeteries and the Holocaust Museum.

The homeowner who filed the suit recounts strangers gathering outside his home with their mobile devices and at least five individuals asking permission to access his backyard to catch the Pokémon. The suit alleges nuisance through the invasion of one’s use and enjoyment of their land and unjust enrichment for the defendants receiving a benefit from the plaintiff’s property.

Jeffrey Marder of West Orange, New Jersey, filed the proposed class action lawsuit in Northern California’s U.S. District Court claiming the game's developer, Niantic, “made unauthorized use” of his and other people’s properties by placing PokeStops and Pokemon Gyms -- virtual meeting points key to playing the game -- and thus encouraged "Pokemon Go’s millions of players to make unwanted incursions onto the properties" of him and others who may have been affected.

The game uses smartphones' cameras and GPS capabilities to superimpose creatures known as Pokemon, as well as meeting points like PokeStops and Pokemon Gyms, over real-world imagery and maps. A player's objective is to capture Pokemon by travelling around on foot.

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For property owners who have faced similar problems, Pokémon Go allows you to request removal of a Pokéstop or Gym from your property. You simply fill out a form on the website and choose your reason for the removal request. The form can be found here, or see the link below: