.Publishing giant Take-Two Interactive has filed a trademark claim against Hazelight, the developer of co-op adventure game It Takes Two. According to Eurogamer, the claim came about after the game was released in March of this year. As a result, Hazelight has abandoned trademark rights to the game’s name.
Neither Hazelight nor publisher EA has said whether this will result in a new name for the game or an adjustment in the game’s marketing plans.
Not long after Take-Two issued the claim, Hazelight officially abandoned the name “It Takes Two” in a statement filed to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It appears as though the developer didn’t have much of a choice: According to Eurogamer, “Hazelight did not dispute it had been forced to abandon the trademark to its game because of Take-Two.”
This isn’t the first time that Take-Two has filed trademark claims. The company, which owns Rockstar and 2K, among other studios, has targeted a wide variety of business and product names that include “rockstar,” “social club” (the name of Rockstar’s multiplayer service), “mafia,” “civilization,” and others. Some of the affected organizations include a Beijing company behind the brand “Starrocks” and a music book company known as “Think Like A Rockstar.” Some companies are attempting to fight the claims, but they are few and far between.
Take-Two’s willingness to go after smaller games and companies on the expectation that they won’t contest a trademark claim from a large, powerful company is a bad look. Instead of creating unity throughout the world of games, it embroils developers in unnecessary legal battles so that Take-Two can ensure that it is the only one who will ever be allowed to use the word “Rockstar.”