Hazelight Studios has given up the trademark for co-op game It Takes Two because of a dispute filed by Take-Two.
We can’t imagine many people would get co-op action platformer It Takes Two mixed up with Take-Two, the parent company of 2K and Rockstar Games. But it seems that the slightly similar name was all the reason Take-Two needed to file a trademark claim against developer Hazelight Studios.
At first, it seems weird that it would take nine months after the game’s release for Take-Two to take issue with the title. But, according to Eurogamer, Hazelight was struck with the trademark claim shortly after It Takes Two released in March.
Hazelight relinquished the trademark for It Takes Two on March 30, as stated in a notice of abandonment sent to the US Patent Office, rather than fight Take-Two over it.
However, a spokesperson for the studio told Eurogamer that the team is ‘hopeful it will be resolved,’ suggesting that conversations are still ongoing. They didn’t comment on how the loss of the trademark had affected Hazelight’s ability to market It Takes Two or if it will need to change the game’s name.
Take-Two has yet to comment on the situation, but a further investigation by Eurogamer reveals that Hazelight is not the only company facing such disputes. Apparently, Take-Two has been going after various other companies and organisations with names containing otherwise innocuous words that happen to be related to Take-Two’s brands. Examples include rockstar, mafia, social club, and civilisation.
This comes only a few months after Take-Two went after various Grand Theft Auto fan mods, forcing their removal without so much as a warning. While no official reason was ever given, it likely had to do with the fact that it had the Grand Theft Auto remasters in the pipeline.
Sadly, Take-Two isn’t the only company guilty of this. Back in 2017, indie studio No Matter Studios was forced to the change the name of its Prey For The Gods game because of Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax, which claimed the name was too similar to its own Prey video game.
Before that, it tried to force Mojang into changing the name of its virtual card game Scrolls because it thought people would confuse it for The Elder Scrolls. Mojang won that lawsuit, although it wound up renaming it anyway to Caller’s Bane in 2018.
Candy Crush Saga developer King also went on a copyright spree, intent on trademarking the words candy and saga so only it could use it. That included picking a fight with The Banner Saga developer Stoic Studio because its game had saga in the name, although that dispute was resolved after Stoic and King reached a mutual agreement.
In short, it’s a familiar tale of big companies bullying little ones for seemingly no gain on their part, beyond the ire of anyone that comes to hear of it.
It Takes Two is available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC.
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