The Pokémon Company International has filed a new lawsuit targeting four individuals who allegedly leaked Sword and Shield information before the games’ release. The leaked information in question, which included pictures of then-unseen Pokémon from the Sword and Shield strategy guide, was first uploaded on November 1, 2019 to Discord, then 4chan and Reddit shortly afterward. From there, the images were eventually reposted on mainstream social media networks, such as Twitter and Facebook. According to the suit, The Pokémon Company found 300 web pages on “dozens of platforms that linked to websites containing the leaked Strategy Guide pictures.”
Lawyers from Perkins Coie, a firm that has been previously hired by large tech companies like Google, are working with The Pokémon Company to track down the alleged leakers after their actions caused “irreparable damage” to the company. They argue that The Pokémon Company “is entitled to damages in an amount to be proven at trial.”
The suit doesn’t name any specific individuals, referring to the alleged leakers as “John/Jane Does” as The Pokémon Company works with outside forensic experts to discover the real identities of the four Discord users they’ve identified thus far. Because they have yet to identify the people in real life, The Pokémon Company wants to serve subpoenas to 4chan and Discord to get the companies’ help in tracking down these individuals. The court has not yet made a decision on this.
The weeks leading up to Sword and Shield’s release were filled with much turmoil throughout the online Pokémon community, with fans taking opposing sides through hashtags such as #ThankYouGameFreak and #GameFreakLied. Leaks were repeatedly posted across the internet, yielding wildly different reactions from fans, which contributed to the online negativity.
The Pokémon Company isn’t alone in taking leakers to court in recent times, as Fortnite developer Epic Games sued two game testers in October and November for leaking new map designs from Fortnite Chapter 2.