The Pokémon Company is taking an Australian crypto game company to court for using characters from the Pokémon franchise without permission.
The Pokémon Company International (TPCi) is suing Pokémon Pty Ltd, an Australian company, in the Federal Court of Australia over the advertisement of a new NFT-based Pokémon mobile game called PokéWorld, under the name Kotiota Studios.
The NFT game lets a player choose a starting Pokémon from a selection of Charmander, Pikachu, or Eevee, then allows the player to battle others for resources and $POKESHARD currency. In-game items such as food, clothing, and amulets etc., are minted on the blockchain as NFTs.
TPCi claims that Pokémon Pty Ltd has falsely advertised itself as a contractor for the Pokémon Company and has listed Pokémon Scarlet, Pokémon Violet, Pokémon Home, and the unreleased Pokémon Sleep as games it has worked on.
TPCi has requested that the court stop Pokémon Pty Ltd from using its trademarks on the PokeWorld website and social media, and from launching the game or selling any NFTs using TPCi's intellectual property.
The Kotiota Studios team reportedly contacted media outlets to promote their game, which alerted TPCi to the situation. The first hearing for the case took place on December 21st, 2022, with TPCi's legal counsel present but no representatives from Kotiota Studios.
Counsel for TPCi stated:
“The PokeWorld Website advertises a new game “brought to you by The Pokémon Company International and Kotiota“. I understand that Kotiota Studios (Kotiota) is an entity related to the respondents in their business endeavour the subject of these proceedings. On that website, there is a section titled “2022-2023 ROADMAP” which appears to outline the timeline for the launch of PokeWorld and release of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) related to Pokémon characters. A review of that web page indicates that the PokeWorld game will launch in January 2023.”
The court has stated that TPCi has a strong case and is seeking more information before determining costs or damages. Further legal action may be taken if Pokémon Pty Ltd does not respond.
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