‘Pokemon Go’ fad has passed but monster trespassing suit lives on

A federal judge in San Francisco ruled yesterday that private property owners can move forward with a trespassing case against Niantic Inc. — Picture by Choo Choy May
A federal judge in San Francisco ruled yesterday that private property owners can move forward with a trespassing case against Niantic Inc. — Picture by Choo Choy May

LOS ANGELES, March 30 — Homeowners who blamed the Pokemon Go craze for disturbing their peace and wrecking their gardens will get their day in court.

A federal judge in San Francisco ruled yesterday that private property owners can move forward with a trespassing case against Niantic Inc, the developer of the smartphone game for hunting virtual monsters.

After the game was launched in July 2016, one Michigan couple complained that their “once quiet street degenerated into a nightmare.” A New Jersey resident alleged that a so-called pocket monster in his backyard brought a steady stream of unwelcome visitors.

At Niantic’s urging, US District Judge James Donato clarified that the claim at issue isn’t that the San Francisco-based company trespassed by placing “virtual objects” on private property. Rather, the allegation is that the company induced gamers to trespass in their zeal to chase down the Pokemon characters.

Nintendo Co, which provided input on the game to Niantic, was dismissed from the litigation last April. — Bloomberg

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