On November 1, several previously unseen images from the Pokémon Sword and Shield Strategy Guide were leaked online two weeks before the game’s official release on November 15. Now lawyers representing The Pokémon Company International, a company which is responsible for Pokémon brand management and licensing, have filed a lawsuit against four unknown individuals who provided and shared these images on Discord and 4Chan.
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of causing “irreparable injury” to The Pokémon Company International by leaking its trade secrets online. It adds that the defendants “stole trade secrets from the strategy guide” when leaking a total of 19 images online over the course of 15 hours.
The first leaked image was posted to Discord on November 1 and showed a new Pokémon – a Gigantamax Machamp. 30 minutes after this initial Discord post, the image had been shared on 4Chan and Reddit. During the next 15 hours, 18 additional images from the strategy guide were posted to Discord.
The lawsuit goes on to claim:
“Through these posts, Defendants disclosed images of multiple Pokémon, the Gigantamax form for certain Pokémon, and the attributes (such as type and weaknesses) for others. This information had previously never been revealed to the public—TPCi [The Pokémon Company International] kept it secret to build anticipation for the release of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.”
As a result of these leaks, the lawsuit argues that The Pokémon Company International is “entitled to damages in an amount to be proven at trial.”
The Pokémon Company International is also attempting to identify the four unknown individuals which it believes are behind the leaks. They include three Discord users and a person one of the Discord users referred to as their “source.”
In a motion for expedited discovery, the company said it has “hired outside forensic investigators to assist in its search for the source of the leaks” and added that it wants to serve subpoenas on Discord and 4Chan “for identifying information associated with the users that posted the leaked images.” This information will include “identifying information associated with the images, IP address, email address, secondary or recovery email address, records of session times and duration, and any other identifying information.”