A US District Court has granted The Pokémon Company, the Nintendo subsidiary responsible for managing the Pokémon franchise, permission to serve subpoenas to Discord and 4chan in pursuit of the identities of users who leaked pictures of new Pokémon prior to the release of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.
The Pokémon Company was granted the right to “serve subpoenas on Discord, 4chan, and [user] DimensioNz#3307” on December 10th.
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This motion was granted in relation to the lawsuit previously filed by The Pokémon Company on November 22nd against currently unknown individuals who leaked “pictures of [The Pokémon Company’s] unreleased Strategy Guide that disclosed numerous never-before-seen Pokémon, including their special forms and attributes” on November 1st, two weeks ahead of the release of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. These included images depicting the Gigantamax forms of Machamp and Eevee.
The lawsuit alleges these images and the content leaked are trade secrets and there is value in keeping the information secret.
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It reads in part:
“There is value in this secrecy. The videogame industry is highly competitive with thousands of new games released annually. To maximize consumer interest and excitement in new Pokémon games, TPCi and its partners carefully time announcements about new Pokemon features and functionality. When individuals disclose these details without TPCi’s or its partners’ consent (commonly called “leaks” or “spoilers”) they threaten this value and undermine the carefully cultivated excitement and interest TPCi and its partners have worked so hard to generate.”
The lawsuit adds, “It also ruins the surprise for hundreds of thousands of Pokémon fans who are eagerly anticipating the release of the new game.”
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DimensioNz#3307, who was included in the court’s subpoena allowance, is specifically referenced in images included in The Pokémon Company’s original filing.
The images were first posted by this user to a Discord server and quickly found their way to 4chan before disseminating to the internet at large, hence their inclusion in the motion.
According to the lawsuit, The Pokémon Company’s legal team argues that the company “has been damaged and is entitled to damages in an amount to be proven at trial, as well as injunctive relief and an award of exemplary damages and attorneys’ fees.”