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Pokemon Lawsuit Might be a No Go

A lawsuit that alleges Pokemon Go encourages players to trespass onto private property will get tossed out of court if the game's lawyers get their way.

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Lawyers for gamemaker Niantic Inc. moved to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of property owners in New Jersey, Michigan, and Florida. The lawsuit claimed Pokemon Go induces players to trespass by placing virtual Pokemon gyms and Pokestops on or next to private property without permission from "real world" owners. Plaintiffs also alleged Pokemon Go players create a nuisance by knocking on people's doors and relieving themselves on private property.

Niantic argues these claims fail. The game, its lawyers write, requires players to agree to follow real world laws before playing. The gamemaker also can't be held liable for "millions of players' real-world movements."

Niantic further argues that Michigan and Florida law only recognizes intentional trespass, which wasn't the case here. The New Jersey-based plaintiff alleged Pokemon Go players knocked on his door five times. Since New Jersey only recognizes trespass claims that result in "significant harm," this claim fails, according to Niantic.

Pokemon Go, a free, location-based, augmented reality game, has earned Niantic $1 billion in revenue according to a recent report from Sensor Tower.

While the game is wildly popular, it's also caused its share of casualties. Reports of everything from falls to car collisions came out soon after the game was released. And just yesterday, a neighborhood security guard in Chesapeake, Virginia shot and killed a man who was playing Pokemon Go.

If you're a Pokemon Go fan, respect private property, even if a Pokemon character does not. For more Pokemon Go safety tips, read my blog from last summer, during the peak of the Pokemon craze.

Photo courtesy of Health Gauge, Flickr

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