When it comes to my writing about trademark and intellectual property issues, there is perhaps no more flummoxing company than Take-Two Interactive. Why? Well, because the company is simultaneously the victim of a ton of stupid disputes, and also a purveyor of stupid disputes. On the one hand, we’ve defended Take-Two when it has been the victim of spurious claims brought against it by The Pinkerton Agency, Lindsay Lohan, and a handful of tattoo artists over athlete depictions in video games. On the other hand, we’ve slapped back at Take-Two when it has taken down modding tools for its games that have been around for years and years, or when the company decides to file lawsuits over fan-projects. The point is that when it comes to the pain brought by overly protectionist IP activities, Take-Two is a company that should know better, but acts as though it doesn’t.
This can often times go to ridiculous lengths, such as when Take-Two opposes the trademark for Rockstar Axe Throwing, LLC, because “Rockstar.”
Applicant Rockstar Axe Throwing filed its application in Class 41 for “Entertainment in the nature of axe throwing competitions; Instruction in the nature of hatchet and axe throwing lessons; Providing sports facilities for hatchet and axe throwing. Take-Two Interactive is “a leading worldwide developer, marketer, and publisher of interactive entertainment, including software, video games, computer games, mobile games,” and other goods and services. Rockstar Games is a subsidiary of Take-Two.
That paragraph is really all you need to know. These companies aren’t in the same industries, aren’t competing for customers, and the existence of the defendant is wholly unlikely to result in any customer confusion. Axe throwing: need we say more?
But, just to cover all of the bases, Take-Two also complains in its opposition about the Rockstar Axe Throwing, LLC logo.
Take-Two has marks that comprise or contain “the term ROCKSTAR and/ or prominently featuring the letter ‘R’ combined with a star design, used alone or with other words or designs…
The logos for the two companies aren’t similar. Like, at all.
Argue those logos are similar if you want, but you’re wrong, you know you’re wrong, and you’re probably in need of psychiatric care. On top of their being dissimilar, there is that whole “Axe Throwing” text right in the logo. If that isn’t enough to ward off anyone who might wander into an axe-throwing facility thinking it was associated with Grand Theft Auto, I can’t imagine what would be.
This, again, is where it gets really frustrating. There is zero reason for Take-Two to have undertaken this opposition. Zero. And yet it did, despite being on the receiving end itself of other ridiculous attempts at IP maximilism. Why?