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US homeowner sues Pokemon Go creators for property 'invasion'

The suit is believed to be one of the first against the companies on behalf of private property owners.

Published: 03rd August 2016 07:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd August 2016 07:30 PM   |  A+A-

2016-07-21T072137Z_2_LYNXNPEC6J1ET_RTROPTP_3_NINTENDO-POKEMON-DELAY

The augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo is shown on a smartphone screen in this photo illustration | Reuters

By PTI

NEW YORK: Fed up with Pokemon Go players catching creatures on his property, an American has filed a lawsuit against the creators of the widely popular location- based augmented reality game.

Jeffrey Marder, of West Orange, New Jersey, has claimed in the suit that the developers have profited from encouraging millions of gamers to play Pokemon Go on or adjacent to private property without the consent of the land owners.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in California seeks damages or monetary relief over the game's use of real world locations, Pokestops and Pokegyms, where users will congregate to play the augmented reality game.

The game was released on July 6 and within days became the most downloaded mobile game ever. Using the GPS on a smartphone, the game encourages players to walk around in the real world searching for imaginary critters. The game utilises the phone's camera to display Pokemon. Pokestops and Pokegyms have become meet-up points for gamers.

In the lawsuit, Marder has said that within the first week of the game's release, "strangers began lingering outside of his home with their phones in hand".

At least five gamers also knocked on Marder's door asking for permission to catch Pokemon in the homeowner's backyard, NJ.com reported.

Marder said in the suit that these Pokemon were placed at his West Orange home by the game's developers without his permission.

The lawsuit names Niantic Inc, the Pokemon Company, and Nintendo Company.

The suit claims Niantic is liable for the nuisance of the "intentional, unauthorised" placing Pokemon, Pokestops and Pokegyms, which prevents property owners from enjoying their land.

According to the lawsuit, a Massachusetts homeowner whose property was designated as a Pokemon gym reported more than 15 uninvited visitors shortly after the game's release.

Other reported invasions of privacy took place at an Alabama cemetery and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which told players that it was "extremely inappropriate" to play the game there.

The lawsuit seeks "damages, disgorgement or other monetary or equitable relief," as well as a court order prohibiting the game's developers from continuing their current practices.

The suit is believed to be one of the first against the companies on behalf of private property owners.



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