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Shadowbeak being pet in Palworld.
Screenshot by Dot Esports via Pocketpair on YouTube

The Pokemon Company to investigate Palworld for infringement on intellectual property

Legal action is finally being taken.

Following a week of radio silence on the legal front, The Pokémon Company has confirmed it will be investigating Palworld for infringement of its intellectual property.

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Since Palworld launched on Jan. 19, it has seen massive success, selling more than seven million units and peaking at over two million concurrent players on Steam. The game and developer Pocketpair have also been at the center of a media firestorm as claims of the studio directly ripping off Pokémon designs and models along with potential AI art usage have been the talk of social media. 

According to TPC, it was already aware of Palworld and has received numerous inquiries about the game, though it wasn’t named directly in the statement. Now, the company will actively begin investigating Palworld and Pocketpair for potential breaches of the Pokémon IP

“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,” The Pokémon Company said. “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.”

This is the first time TPC has openly commented on Palworld in any capacity since the game’s launch, though the legal team has likely been monitoring Pocketpair closely following the title’s meteoric success—if not before then. Nintendo reportedly sent out a DMCA claim against a mod that added Pokémon characters into Palworld on Jan. 23, but that is the only other action that has been taken by either party.

For Palworld, Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe has openly spoken out against the “slanderous comments” being spoken about the studio and its developers. “Currently, we are receiving slanderous comments against our artists, and we are seeing tweets that appear to be death threats,” Mizobe said, according to machine translation. “I have received a variety of opinions regarding Palworld, but all productions related to Palworld are supervised by multiple people, including myself, and I am responsible for the production. I would appreciate it if you would refrain from slandering the artists involved in Palworld.”

Any additional news about this investigation will likely not be shared publicly until TPC decides to take direct legal action against Pocketpal or the incident is dropped entirely.

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Image of Cale Michael
Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.