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Pokémon Go is the latest iteration of the immensely popular Pokémon media franchise, which consists in large part of a series of video games in which players take on the role of "trainers" with the goal of capturing and collecting fantasy creatures called Pokémon. Released on July 6, 2016 in the United States, Pokémon Go is an "augmented reality" game in which players use their smart phones to "catch" Pokémon in the players' real-world surroundings by utilizing the GPS, camera, and gyroscope features on users' mobile devices. When the game detects, via GPS, that players are in the vicinity of certain real-world locations, the GPS coordinates of which were selected and programmed into the mobile application by Niantic and known to Pokémon Go players as "Pokéstops" and "Pokémon gyms," the players gain access to potentially vital in-game items, which they can use to catch Pokémon, among other purposes, or gain the opportunity to engage in virtual "battles" with other Pokémon Go players.
Pokémon Go was an immediate success. As of July 23, 2016, Pokémon Go had been downloaded more than 30 million times and had earned more than $35 million in revenue.
However, within days of the game's release, it became clear that a number of the GPS coordinates that Niantic had designated as Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms were, in fact, on or directly adjacent to private property, and that Niantic had placed these Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms without the consent of the properties' owners. As a direct result of Defendants' actions, Pokémon Go players have trespassed on Plaintiffs' property, blocked Plaintiffs' driveway, and even directly threatened Plaintiffs when asked to leave. The intentional, unauthorized placement of Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms on or near the property of Plaintiffs and other members of the proposed class constitutes a continuing invasion of the class members' use and enjoyment of their properties, committed by Niantic on an ongoing basis for Defendants' profit.
"Defendants recklessly developed and marketed a product without properly considering its impact on private homeowners, depriving them of their right to enjoy their property without nuisance. The Pokémon Company, Nintendo, and Niantic failed to realize that their virtual game has very real-world consequences," said Jeremy A. Lieberman, attorney for the plaintiffs.
The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Florida, and Los Angeles, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See www.pomerantzlaw.com
Robert S. Willoughby
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SOURCE Pomerantz LLP