Take-Two Opposes Trademark For An Entertainment Company Running An Axe-Throwing Facility

from the bullseye dept

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?

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Filed Under: axe throwing, trademark
Companies: rockstar games, take-two interactive


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  • identicon
    Daydream, 15 Oct 2020 @ 8:45pm

    Maybe they're using a trademark bot of some kind to trawl the internet and look for potential infringements/counterfeits?
    Checking attributes off a checklist whilst ignoring additional details or how it's arranged?

    Is it a picture? Yes.
    Does it contain yellow, black, and white colors? Yes.
    Does it contain a star shape? Yes.
    Does it contain R or Rockstar? Yes.
    ZOMG IT'S AN INFRINGEMENT!!!1!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      arp2 (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 7:18am

      Re:

      By the the very nature of the use of the word Rockstar, you're conjuring up generic semiotics of bold colors, aggressive fonts, etc. (Think Kiss, Metallica, Judas Priest, ) Rockstar should have no claim to that general imagery; it's at best descriptive. It's the trademark version of scenes a faire.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Oct 2020 @ 8:48pm

    Take Two has been a dick IN the game industry as well.

    Take Two so far has been legendary for their fan-predatory marketing, for extreme crunch, for using extracted scream to power their development facilities.

    So stabbing at unrelated industries with trademark litigation is pretty much on brand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2020 @ 9:05pm

    i think the only way to make it more distinct would be to not use a yellow orange.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Oct 2020 @ 11:46pm

    I'd say that logo is pretty similar... to Rockstar Energy's logo, not the game developer's logo. What a strange lawsuit (though sadly not entirely unusual in today's climate)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2020 @ 4:33am

    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?

    Well, you see, Timmy, when a child is abused, when he grows up...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2020 @ 4:44am

    I can only assume that Take-Two believes they were hit during one of the throwing competitions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2020 @ 5:14pm

    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?

    Two words: Billable hours.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Man In Need of Psychiatric Care, 17 Oct 2020 @ 8:25am

    Devil's advocate here. You spent enough time writing up the article so I'll take a look at the other side, and I know Rockstar isn't exactly a good boy when it comes to respecting trademarks either. I'm not here to persuade you and I know you won't be moved, but hear me out:

    The name of the companies are both Rockstar. The color of the logo is a prominent feature of the logo, as is the star which is similarly shaped.

    Would a reasonable person know Rockstar Games is in the exclusive market of making great, violent, video games and not real-life axe-throwing activities? A skilled enough lawyer representing Rockstar may be able to convince a jury. I don't think Rockstar would prevail by these features alone, and I think they'd sooner settle by changing the font or the color. And they will probably settle, since most issues like these don't make it to court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 8:59am

    Lets be honest here, Take Two SHOULD be able to ban Rockstar Axe throwing from using the term.

    because when the actual programming talent at Take Two left for better studios, all they had left were some useless hacks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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