Over the last couple of months, we have seen Epic Games taking legal action against testers who leaked Fortnite Chapter 2 details ahead of launch. Now, The Pokemon Company is taking similar action against those behind the Pokemon Sword and Shield leaks, claiming that they caused irreparable damage to the company. However, the actual identities of those involved still need to be figured out first.
The Pokemon Company’s lawsuit was filed at a court in Washington, Seattle, naming up to three ‘John/Jane Does’. Once the exact identities of the leakers are found, the legal complaint documents will be updated accordingly but for now, they remain anonymous. However, that doesn’t mean that the Pokemon Company’s investigation hasn’t got them close to that goal, in fact, the lawyers on the case seem to have evidence of how the leaks circulated already.
According to the complaint, defendants allegedly stole trade secrets from the Pokemon Sword and Shield strategy guide on the 1st of November. The leaks took place over Discord messages, with 18 photos of the unreleased guide being spread, which were then publicly posted all across the web to a worldwide audience.
The strategy guide was due to release on the 22nd of November, one week after Sword and Shield. The Pokemon Company runs background checks, marks files and restricts access to any game information during development, NDAs are also required for every employee, including contractors and production vendors. Only production facility employees “with the proper security clearance” have access to the actual guide during production and there is a ban on phones or cameras in secured areas.
With that in mind, one of those security measures apparently failed in November, allowing a ton of images from the guide to be taken and sent off-site. The strategy guide leak was just the start though, with leaked gameplay videos also popping up shortly after, leading to a trending hashtag where fans accused Game Freak of lying about Sword and Shield.
Due to all of this, The Pokemon Company wants to be compensated for the damage the leaks caused. First, the company will need to figure out the identities of those involved but given that the Discord leaks are already in their possession, they will likely figure it out at some point, particularly if a judge orders Discord to hand over any identifying information for the accounts involved.
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KitGuru Says: The Pokemon Company has a digital footprint to follow, just as Epic Games did with its own lawsuit against leakers earlier this year. With that in mind, this case is likely to updated with actual named defendants at some point. Pokemon is one of the biggest brands in the world too, so ‘compensatory damages’ for violating NDA could end up being quite large. What do you all think of this? Should leakers be held legally accountable like this?