Gotta sue them all: Nintendo, the Pokemon Company and San Francisco-based augmented reality startup and Pokemon Go maker Niantic Labs are on the receiving end of a new lawsuit, which claims that the game entices players to trespass on other people’s property. Niantic Labs responded by warning its players to obey the law while hunting for Pokemons.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jeffrey Marder, a New Jersey resident who had a number of unwanted encounters with Pokemon Go Players. “During the week of Pokémon Go ’s release, strangers began lingering outside of his home with their phones in hand,” the lawsuit states. “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 at Plaintiff’s residence.”
Pokemon Go overlays virtual objects over the physical world, including so-called Pokestops and Pokemon gyms, which can attract players looking to catch new Pokemon or battle previously caught monsters. Some of this has led to welcome effects for local businesses and public parks, with GameStop even reporting significantly higher revenues at stores that are near a Pokestop.
However, the lawsuit is claiming that Marder’s situation is far from unique. Citing articles about other privacy intrusions, it is seeking class action status, while also asking for compensation and a change to the game’s practices.
Niantic Labs hasn’t officially responded to the lawsuit, but the company seems to be fully aware of the situation. As part of an update to the game released this weekend, it is now warning players to use common sense and obey all laws. Some of the warnings are about staying safe in traffic, but one also specifically advises players not to trespass.