NFT

The Pokémon Company Just Took An Australian Crypto Company to Court for Unauthorized Use of Its Characters

And the defendant, Pokémon Pty Ltd (aka Kotiota Studios), never showed up.

NFT

The Pokémon Company Just Took An Australian Crypto Company to Court for Unauthorized Use of Its Characters

And the defendant, Pokémon Pty Ltd (aka Kotiota Studios), never showed up.

Last month, The Pokémon Company took an Australian crypto company, Pokémon Pty Ltd (aka Kotiota Studios) to federal court over the unauthorized use of its characters from the Pokémon franchise in an NFT game. 

The Pokémon Company, a Japanese subsidiary of Nintendo, manages and maintains the entire branding, licensing, and marketing of the Pokémon franchise, including, but not limited to the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the animated TV series, home entertainment, and official Pokémon website. 

According to court documents, the defendants had allegedly set up a website advertising an upcoming NFT called “PokéWorld,” claiming to have worked on official Pokémon titles including, but not limited to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Pokémon HOME, and Pokémon Sleep – however, the Pokémon Company corrected that narrative and said that the defendants have never been a contractor for it. 

The website (since deactivated) and Twitter account, specifically holds the company out as being licensed to develop Pokémon Games by or on behalf of Pokémon, The Pokémon Company, and/or Nintendo Co. Ltd., which The Pokémon Company says violates both Australian Consumer Law and intellectual property laws.

The defendant’s advertised PokéWorld as a “metaverse P2E game filled with fascinating Pokémon that players can collect as pets,” encouraging users to “raise [their] Pokémon by feeding and evolving them, or watch[ing] them take on others in exciting battles!”

In other words, the game’s infrastructure closely mirrors that of a Tamagotchi pet, where the user is required to take care of their Pokémon, or risk “dooming it to unhappiness” if they fail to care for its needs. 

The first court hearing took place on Dec. 21, 2022, with representatives for The Pokémon Company present – however, nobody from Pokémon Pty Ltd showed up. 

Ultimately, the court ruling in favor of The Pokémon Company, barred the defendants from using officially licensed Pokémon characters from the media franchise, releasing Pokémon-branded NFTs, and for misrepresenting its relationship with The Pokémon Company. 

However, it says it needs additional information before addressing the damages and costs that have allegedly resulted from the defendant’s misuse of the IP. 

Given the defendant’s lack of attendance to the hearing, it’s uncertain when the next ruling could occur. 

The case is The Pokémon Company International, Inc. v. Pokémon Pty Ltd [2022] FCA 1561 [21 December 2022).

In other news, read about Ryder Ripps’s newly filed counterclaims against Yuga Labs for naked IP licensing.

 

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