New Jersey resident Jeffrey Marder has brought forward a lawsuit against Nintendo, The Pokémon Company and Pokémon GO developers Niantic, claiming that Pokémon GO encourages people to trespass on his property and the defendants—Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, Niantic—are profiting off their trespassing.
The crux of his argument is that Niantic placed Pokémon in his backyard without his permission and that “at least five individuals knocked on Plaintiff’s door and asked for access to Plaintiff’s backyard in order to ‘catch’ Pokémon,” the court filing reads.
Marder claims that the presence of Pokémon on his property has diminished his enjoyment of his home. “The intentional, unauthorized placement of Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms on or near the property of Plaintiff and other members of the proposed class constitutes a continuing invasion of the class members’ use and enjoyment of their land, committed by Niantic on an ongoing basis for Defendants’ profit. On the basis of the foregoing acts and practices, Defendant Niantic is liable for nuisance and all Defendants have been unjustly enriched,” the statement reads.
Marder blostered his argument by citing other publicized incidents of Pokémon or PokéStops/Gyms appearing on private property, such as the Holocaust Museum or on other people’s homes, though none of them have brought forward lawsuits.
The suit asks to include “All persons in the United States who own property (i) the GPS coordinates of which were designated by Defendants, without authorization, as Pokéstops or Pokémon gyms in the Pokémon Go mobile application or (ii) abutting property the GPS coordinates of which were designated by Defendants, without authorization, as Pokéstops or Pokémon gyms in the Pokémon Go mobile application.”
In the most recent update to Pokémon GO, Niantic added an opening message that reads “Do not trespass while playing Pokémon GO,” so they are at least aware of the potential problem. Niantic has also stated that they would respect any requests to remove Pokéstops or Gyms from private property, but it is unclear if they have the ability to prevent Pokémon from appearing in a certain, small area. Niantic, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have 21 days to respond to the lawsuit.