The Pokémon Company is suing six Chinese companies over a mobile game that bears a strong resemblance to the Pokémon franchise itself, citing copyright infringement and unfair competition. South China Morning Post (Gratitude, games industry, business).
The Japanese giant, owned by Nintendo, Game Freak and Creatures, is seeking 500 million yuan ($72.5 million) in damages and is demanding that the offending companies issue a public apology on Chinese websites and mobile apps. Naturally, it also requires that the game in question – Pocket Monster reissueor Koudaiyaoguai Fuke in Chinese, will be discontinued along with all promotional material.
Looking at the screenshot below (courtesy of SCMP), you can understand why the Pokémon Company has taken these steps. To say that the mobile title bears a resemblance to Pokémon is perhaps an understatement in and of itself; The image clearly shows real key art from Pokemon, including Ask Ketchum, Pikachu, Tepig, and Oshawott.
Since some Pokémon games are not officially available in mainland China, the similarities of Pocket Monster Reissue were discussed at length by the public, which likely led to the issue being brought to the attention of The Pokémon Company. The game itself has been available since 2015, and by 2016, the revenue seems to have exceeded 300 million yuan and the monthly turnover has exceeded 30 million yuan. You can certainly understand why The Pokémon Company wants to end this.
This is not the first time a mobile game has been accused of copyright infringement. More recently, none other than former Nintendo developer Takaya Imamura discovered that images from his 3DS title Steel Diver: Submarine Wars was used to promote a mobile game without permission from Nintendo.
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