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Nintendo Goes After Adult TikTok Influencer Over Pokémon Branding

Illustration for article titled Nintendo Goes After Adult TikTok Influencer Over iPokémon /iBranding
Screenshot: digitalprincxss

Pokeprincxss, a TikTok user with 1.9 million followers, has been forced to change her name and pay back some of her earnings after Nintendo issued a cease and desist.

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As first reported by Gamerant, Pokeprincxss—now known as Digitalprincxss—was recently contacted by Nintendo not long after her attempts to trademark her own username. She was told that her business efforts were infringing on their copyrights on a number of fronts, including her Pokémon-related name and the merchandise she was selling, like t-shirts that featured Pokémon characters.

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Slightly understandable, but then, there are countless other people selling shirts and mugs and prints featuring Nintendo characters who aren’t getting cease and desists, so what’s the difference here?

In addition to her TikTok following, Digitalprincxss also runs a successful OnlyFans page where she posts regular adult content.

“Nintendo doesn’t want people to think that I’m in any way, shape or form affiliated with them, or that I have a partnership with them, and it all comes back to me being an adult entertainer, she says in this explanation video below:

“Nintendo is a family-friendly company, so they don’t want that to at all ruin their reputation or anything, if people think that me and them are affiliated”.

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“Obviously that really sucks, but from a business standpoint I have to understand it and accept it because I fucked up”, she says, pointing out that she’s been using the name for eight years now, and that her recent merchandising and trademark efforts were done out of a lack of understanding of the law, not malice towards Nintendo.

Speaking with Kotaku, she adds “I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to play the victim in the situation, and only hope to be somebody people can learn from and not make the same mistakes I did.”

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“I still love Nintendo and will forever support them.”

“It’s kind of a cool thing to say, that...the ones who made my childhood so cool, they finally noticed me! All it took was for me to infringe on everything about them.”

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In addition to the name change she’s also had to pay back everything she has made selling any merchandise with Nintendo’s copyrights on them.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

thewiredknight

It’s good that she understands the problem and has no malice towards Nintendo on this one. To answer the question posed in the article, the difference is largely optics (if she’s a big Tiktok entertainer then Nintendo would absolutely notice her more than random etsy or deviantart pages) and two her intent to trademark the name. Trademarks must be actively litigated or at least fought for as not actively protecting it in almost all instances can result in a loss of the mark (something Nintendo knows very well as this is practically how they won against Universal over the term “Kong” back in the 80s). Secondly her adult entertainment can become “trademark dilution” where the image she presents is actively damaging the mark (argument would be that parents finding her merchandise wouldn’t know that she wasn’t affiliated with Nintendo nor her products and start thinking worse of the brand). An argument that may be valid as that t-shirt could be sold on the Pokemon Center site and people wouldn’t know it wasn’t official.

Copyright is discretionary to enforce but will almost always get lumped in with trademark infringement if there’s a case for it which it certainly is here since she engages in video game related products and merchandise which Nintendo and the Pokemon Company hold the exclusive rights to (sell and license).