The Pokémon Company has issued a press release about “another company’s game released in January 2024”, a thinly veiled reference to the breakout hit Palworld, AKA “Pokémon with guns”. Is a copyright infringement go well with coming at Palworld developer Pocket Pair? Effectively, possibly?
The statement from The Pokémon Company reads:
“We have received many inquiries regarding another company’s game released in January 2024. We have not granted any permission for the use of Pokémon intellectual property or assets in that game. We intend to investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pokémon. We will continue to cherish and nurture each and every Pokémon and its world, and work to bring the world together through Pokémon in the future.”
In different phrases, “Yes, yes, we’ve heard about Palworld, you don’t need to keep emailing us. No, it’s not a Pokémon game, and if we think they’ve stolen our stuff then we’ll sue. Can you stop bugging us now?”
On the floor stage this may sound like The Pokémon Company is coming for Pocket Pair, or that they suppose Pocket Pair has damaged copyright, however there’s really nothing of the kind within the assertion.
With Palworld promoting thousands and thousands upon thousands and thousands of copies with its early entry launch on Steam and Xbox, many have been fast to level out simply how shut the sport’s creature designs are to Pokémon, and the way liberally it lifts different Pokémon design components and tropes. Some have even in contrast the 3D fashions between Palworld and up to date Pokémon video games on Swap, theorising that their similarities are so shut that developer Pocket Pair might have used Recreation Freak’s property as a base mannequin and made tweaks to them, as an alternative of imitations from the bottom up.
If that’s the case, then that would definitely be grounds for some sort of authorized motion, however The Pokémon Company isn’t there but, and it’s not clear in the event that they suppose they’ve a case at this level. This shall be a really completely different scenario to Nintendo and The Pokémon Company handing out DCMA takedowns on fan mods that use their IP, with an precise lawsuit requiring that they’ve an affordable expectation of success, and due to this fact extra significant evaluation of what Pocket Pair has accomplished, each of the top end result and the artistic course of by way of discovery of emails and historic knowledge.
However once more, The Pokémon Company has not said that they’re taking authorized motion. Palworld has been in improvement for a number of years, with trailers and bulletins main as much as the Early Entry launch. Throughout that interval, there was nothing that allowed The Pokémon Company or Nintendo to power them to cease making Palworld. It’s solely now that the sport is definitely out that eyebrows could be being elevate.
Past that, each The Pokémon Company and Pocket Pair are each Japanese firms, and so this entire course of will really run by way of the Japanese courts and authorized course of. Japan has no provision for Honest Use on the books, for instance, so there’s probably a distinct burden upon each firms than we would anticipate for a US or European lawsuit.
We’ll clearly let you realize if one thing does really occur. Within the meantime, be happy to maintain enjoying that Pokémon with weapons survival sport.
Supply: The Pokémon Company