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[Update] More Documents Emerge In Pokémon Company's Suit Against Party Planner For Infringement

by Mike Futter on Oct 05, 2015 at 10:30 AM

Update #2: Ramar Larkin Jones has provided additional documentation supporting his claim that a settlement was proposed by The Pokémon Company. The terms include a permanent injunction and payment of attorney and filing fees.

A letter allegedly sent by The Pokémon Company's attorneys, includes a settlement amount of $5,000 for attorney fees and $400 for court filing fees. We were also provided a draft judgment. Neither references the 45-day deadline for payment. 

Update #1: Ramar Larkin Jones replied to us immediately after this story went live. He says that a settlement was on the table, but now it has been withdrawn.

"We had agreed to a settlement once the story broke on motherboard we got a email saying they were pulling the offer because I was bad mouthing them tho I was not," Jones says via email. "The lawyer I was working with is trying to get them to put the settlement back on the table so that we can be done with this entire thing. we should no by the end of the day. We have the emails going back and fourth where their lawyers say we have a deal."

Larkin also reiterated that this was his first communication with The Pokémon Company. "I would have canceled the Event right away had I gotten A C&D or even an email," he says."

Original Story (October 5, 2015, at 2:49 p.m.):

On October 1, Ramar Larkin Jones opened a GoFundMe page after facing a lawsuit from The Pokémon Company. Jones has now raised more than $4,000 to pay off a fine based on what he says is strictly due to a pre-PAX party using Pikachu and Snivy, two The Pokémon Company’s famous critters.

There’s just one problem. There is no settlement in the suit yet. Jones doesn’t actually owe anything right now.

It all began on August 26, 2015. Jones and his partner Zach Shore had planned to throw The 5th Annual Unofficial Pokémon PAX Kickoff Party in Seattle. The promotional poster (below) featured both Pikachu and Snivy.

According to Jones’ GoFundMe page, tickets cost $2 each. The Pokémon Company’s complaint also refers to a Facebook posting for the party that promised “Pokémon themed shots and drinks,” a Super Smash Bros. tournament, and cosplay contest.

The complaint alleges infringement of The Pokémon Company’s copyrighted works not only for the 2015 party, but for the four years preceding. As part of its filing, the company says it is seeking a court order prohibiting further infringement as well as actual and statutory damages.

Jones claims that The Pokémon Company served him no cease and desist notification prior to bringing the matter to court and demanding a jury trial. Because the matter is still being litigated, The Pokémon Company is unable to comment on the events that may have led to the August 26 court filing.

The most recent documents on file are dated September 18 and indicate a voluntary dismissal of the case against Jones’ partner, Zach Shore, and a joint status report related to a potential early settlement. Crucially, there is no settlement at this time, as confirmed to us by a representative of The Pokémon Company.

The filings indicate that the parties might be working toward an out-of-court agreement, but specific amounts (if any) and timing are not set.  In other words, Jones’ claim of owing The Pokémon Company $4,000 in 45 days is not accurate. We’ve reached out to him for comment and explanation. We’ll update should we receive a response.

[Source: United States District Court, Western District of Washington, Seattle (1), (2), (3), GoFundMe via GeekWire]

 

Our Take
It is extremely unlikely that The Pokémon Company – a large, international organization – would use a request for jury trial as its first step. There is more to this story, but with the company not saying anything, we don't know exactly what it is. All we know for certain is that the GoFundMe campaign is, at best, premature.