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It Takes Two developers swept up in Take-Two trademark conflict

Seriously Take-Two if I can keep Outer Wilds and The Outer Worlds straight you can deal with a little co-op game can't you?

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

December 3, 2021

2 Min Read
Key art from It Takes Two. The two player characters haphazardly grab onto a floating dandelion.

Hazelight Studios, the makers of games like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and A Way Out has been dealing with a trademark dispute filed by game publisher Take-Two over the name of this year's co-op hit It Takes Two.

The trademark dispute has been uncovered by the folks at Eurogamer, who also found that Take-Two has been swinging the dispute bat at numerous media makers naming their products after words that are close to Take-Two's trademarks. Hazelight Studios has apparently opted to abandon the trademark for its own game rather than go toe-to-toe with Take-Two.

Hazelight told Eurogamer in a statement that it is "hoping [the dispute] will be resolved."

Eurogamer's prying into Take-Two's trademark bonanza has revealed the publisher is swinging at anyone trying to trademark names that include phrases like "rockstar" "social club" "civilization" and "mafia."

These include a Beijing-based company's trademark of "Starrocks," tattoo parlours and restaurants trying to use "rockstar" in their names, a live performance industry book called "Think Like A Rockstar," and a Florida axe-throwing business called "Rockstar Axe Throwing."

Trademark law is a messy affair partly built on the notion that trademark owners must be actively defending their desired trademarks. Given Take-Two's legal resources, the company probably views it as being less of a liability to overcorrect on trademark defense than undercorrect, particularly where other video game brands are concerned.

While it's frustrating to see a billion-dollar publisher pick on a much smaller company, said smaller company did publish their game with EA. It's a closer overlap than Rockstar Axe Throwing, that's for sure.

Still, with "Take-Two" being a company name, and "It Takes Two" being a game name from a much smaller studio, it does feel like Take-Two is using its financial and legal resources to take an unfair swing at competition. 

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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