As first reported by Forbes, The Pokémon Company International, Inc. (TPCi) has filed an ex parte motion for expedited discovery—an attempt to learn the real identities behind several Discord usernames that took part in leaking several photographs from TPCi’s Pokémon Sword and Shield: The Official Galar Region Strategy Guide. These pictures contained multiple images of the newest Pokémon that were slated to debut with the release of Sword and Shield, and in addition revealed the Dynamax and Gigantamax features coming to the newest Pokémon title.
The legal document, viewable here, outlines the measures TPCi took to keep this information secret. The Pokémon Company performed background checks on employees, stored game content files on secure computers, restricted access to game working files behind usernames and passwords given to a limited number of employees, allowed game data transfer between those individuals only through secured methods, used digital measures to trace and mark files, and required that all users with access to the game files sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Physical copies of the strategy guide were also stored in secure locations under tarps, and individuals with access to this storage area were not permitted to bring cell phones or cameras into those areas. Despite all of these measures, TPCi has identified a window of fifteen hours between November 1 and 2 in which someone snapped images of these hidden strategy guides, and then worked with others to leak them on Discord. Within mere minutes, these images had spread to 4chan—and from there to Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and Imgur.
TPCi claims these leaks breach the Defend Trade Secrets Act, as well as the Washington Uniform Trade Secrets Act, as the strategy guide images fall under the stipulations required to be considered “trade secrets.” TPCi states that announcements regarding new Pokémon, features, and functionality are carefully timed in order to generate the most fan excitement and engagement ahead of game launches, and that therefore there is monetary value in the strategy guide’s secrecy.
It’s hard to know whether or not TPCi’s attempt to learn the identities of these anonymous leakers will pan out, but Gaming Instincts will be sure to keep interested fans updated.