If a bunch of kids – or adults for that matter – playing Pokémon Go kept knocking on your door asking for access to your backyard because they said they had important game-related business to take care of, what would you do? Let them in? Tell them where to go? File a lawsuit against the game’s maker?
While that last option may seem like an overreaction to some, New Jersey resident Jeffrey Marder, 61, decided he had every right to make such a move, so fed up was he with players (at least five, apparently) turning up at his door while hunting for the game’s digital creatures.
The lawsuit, which was filed in recent days with the Northern California’s U.S. District Court and seeks class-action status, targets not only maker Niantic but also The Pokémon Company and Nintendo, who both have close connections with the phenomenally successful game.
The court papers claim that Pokéstops and Gyms – real locations (like Marder’s backyard) where players go to battle virtual creatures and collect items – have been placed by Niantic “on or directly adjacent to private property,” adding that the company has shown “a flagrant disregard for the foreseeable consequences of populating the real world with virtual Pokémon without seeking the permission of property owners.”
It says that during the first week of the game’s release, “strangers began lingering outside of [Marder’s] home with their phones in hand,” with some knocking on his door requesting access to his property. It added that Niantic’s inclusion of his location in the game has “caused Pokémon Go players to interfere with [Marder’s] use and enjoyment of his property.”
While Marder clearly isn’t the only one experiencing Pokémon–related pangs of despair, he’s the first to turn to the courts for help fighting the annoyance. Of course, he could also jump onto Niantic’s website and fill in a form requesting the removal of his property from the game.
Niantic, for its part, has a note on the game’s support pages requesting that players “do not trespass, or in any manner gain or attempt to gain access to any property or location where you do not have the right or permission to be.”
The hit game has already run into trouble for locating Pokéstops at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, while Australian authorities have had Pokéstops in a Sydney park deleted after hundreds of players descended on the location, causing traffic jams, leaving piles of trash and making noise “until the early hours,” according to a BBC report.