A quick Pikachu at some of the legal issues surrounding Pokémon Go!

Whether you are a serious Pokémon trainer yourself, or simply know someone who is, there is no hiding from the fact that Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm.  A once card-based game that every child played, is now, arguably, one of the most lucrative AR-type games released this year.

Hunting and taking down gyms is a big part of the game, and is required if you want to get to a high enough level to hold them for a decent amount of time.  You may have seen stories of people taking extreme risks, or entering property they shouldn’t be, just to get an edge over other players.  As a quick run down, and on a serious note, you should be aware of the following:

Personal Injury

You play the game at your own risk.  The terms and conditions, which you will have agreed to if you’re a player, make this clear.


If you don’t have permission to enter someone’s property, then you shouldn’t be there.  You run the risk of being arrested and prosecuted, or being taken to court by the landowner.

Team up and take down gyms

Any trainer who plays the game will know that in order to take down gyms, you need to work as a team.  Whether you’re Mystic, Valor, or Instinct (and yes, there is a right choice!) you stand better odds at neutralising gyms, in order to take them for your own team, and make them harder to be won back.

Whilst this is no doubt the best way of getting gyms, and XP, you should bear in mind that a large group of people can be seen as intimidating, especially during late evenings in secluded locations.  Be wary of how you act, and remember that certain types of behaviour, words, or actions may amount to criminal behaviour.


The basic requirements of privacy law are met by Niantic in their terms and conditions.  As with any other game of this type, it requires access to your physical location, name, and email address.  Whilst the constant tracking of your location may, to some, be a concern, it is fairly common place amongst most apps now.

Our dispute resolution specialist, Tracey Ashford, offers the following advice: “Playing Pokémon Go can be a fun and social activity and if you employ a good dose of common sense you shouldn’t go far wrong. Just remember to be aware of your surroundings, keep safe, behave appropriately, and enjoy! Happy hunting!”

Our resident Pokémon trainer (team Mystic) and litigation lawyer, Daniel Tetsell, also warns on how you can avoid restricting your legal rights unnecessarily: “Not many people will have read the terms and conditions set out by Niantic Labs (the creators of Pokémon Go), but they seem to remove your ability to take any matters through a court.  Instead, you are required to use arbitration, a form of dispute resolution.  Further, you will be barred from bringing “class actions”, removing your chances of “joining in” on any potentially successful litigation”.  There is a very short process set out in the terms and conditions which, if followed, should remove this clause’s effect.”

If you have any queries or want further information on the issues raised in this article contact Tracey Ashford in our Dispute Resolution team on 01562 512484 or tashford@thursfields.co.uk.

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