Crime doesn’t pay, and if that crime involves leaking Pokemon strategy guide pages, it can result in a massive fine for anyone involved.
As VGC reports, a US District Court in Seattle has found two men (David Andino Maisonave and Bryan Garcia Cruz) guilty of violating both the Defend Trade Secrets Act and Washington Uniform Trade Secrets Act. They must now pay $150,000 each for monetary damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
Their crime was to leak pages from the official Pokemon Sword and Shield strategy guide prior to its launch, and in the process reveal details about new Pokemon that neither Nintendo nor The Pokemon Company had discussed publicly yet.
Maisonave was the first to act. He captured photos of the strategy guide while working at printing company LSC Communications, which had been tasked with producing the guides for Nintendo. The pages included information about the game that wasn’t publicly known yet, including a new Gigantamax Machamp Pokemon, which Maisonave shared with a friend.
Cruz was the second person to act. Maisonave’s friend decided to post the images of the strategy guide in a Discord group Cruz was a member of, and he subsequently shared them online, allowing a much wider audience to learn of the new details ahead of the official reveal. It didn’t take long for the information to spread across social media.
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Nintendo is well-known for taking legal action against individuals who decide to infringe its IP, steal its property, or in this case, leak private information, but it was The Pokemon Company that took the lead here. As Forbes reported in 2019, the company hired forensic experts to help track down the source of the leak, and both men were ultimately identified and prosecuted.