Nintendo have developed a rather serious reputation for being very litigious in defense of their rights. And many gamers and analysts have criticized them and other Japanese companies for their heavy-handed approaches in the past. But a name that doesn’t often come up in legal filings concerning copyright infringement is The Pokémon Company International, the publisher behind the Pokémon franchise. Well that’s about to change as the company is now apparently seeking to sue the leakers who first revealed details about Pokémon Sword and Shield ahead of the formal reveal.
According to rumors and reports, the initial leaks happened on 4Chan, where images of the new Generation 8 starters, gym leader details and other elements were posted. These were apparently sourced from from the Pokémon Sword and Shield strategy guide, and images leaked from within it. It seems likely then that the leakers somehow got an advance copy of the guide, leading to it being leaked. Whether it was from within a publishing partner, retail outlet or another source is unknown.
Regardless of where the leak originated, according to the legal team, “dozens of platforms that linked to websites containing the leaked Strategy Guide pictures.” This leak in particular led to a rather angry executive team at The Pokémon Company. At the behest of the legal and executive teams, the company has enlisted lawyers from Perkins Coie to help identify and sue said leakers.
Leaks in the filing included the untimely reveal of Gigantamaxing, as well roster details for the new Pokédex.
Those interested can find the full legal filing here.
Those listed in the suit have yet to be identified, and are thus listed as John/Jane Does” pending formal identification as part of the trial discovery process. This process could be very interesting though, as the rights holder would have to first identify the source of the leak, then potentially subpoena various entities for identifying information. This could grant some level of privacy protection to the leakers, although a court is very unlikely to rule against The Pokémon Company International during said process, as rights were likely violated. The leaks led to “irreparable injury” according to the lawsuit, and the company feels it is “entitled to damages in an amount to be proven at trial.”
Pokémon Sword and Shield is out now for the Nintendo Switch.