A New Jersey man has filed what may be the first class-action lawsuit over "Pokemon Go," claiming the companies behind the Pikachu fervor created a public nuisance and caused people to trespass on private property.
Jeffrey Marder, of West Orange, says in the complaint filed Friday in California that Pokemon Go players have been hanging out near his property since the virtual phenomenon launched last month. At least five knocked on his door to ask if they could catch a Pokemon that was in his backyard, the suit says.
Users playing Pokemon Go roam the physical world searching for virtual Pokemon creatures. The game also allows players to attract other users to physical locations using so-called "lures."
In the lawsuit, Marder argues the companies behind the game — developer Niantic Inc. and Nintendo, which gave input — established Pokestops on or near private property without any approval from the property owners. The complaint references Pokestops positioned in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and in cemeteries. In New Jersey, one woman recently got stuck in a tree when she was looking to capture a creature.
The suit looks to certify a class of all real estate owners in the United States whose property is near or on Pokestops and to compel the companies that created the game to change it, according to Law.com. It points out that Pokemon Go has been downloaded more than 30 million times as of July 23, generating $35 million in revenue for Niantic Inc., Nintendo Co. Ltd and The Pokemon Co.
Niantic did not respond to requests for comment from Law.com or Bloomberg. A Nintendo spokeswoman declined comment.