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Take-Two Sues BBC Over Upcoming Grand Theft Auto Drama

by Mike Futter on May 21, 2015 at 03:44 AM

Take-Two filed suit this morning in London against BBC over the use of the publisher’s trademarks in an upcoming drama based on the creation of Grand Theft Auto. The suit alleges infringement related to both the blockbuster series and the Rockstar Games name.

The publisher says it has tried to clear the matter up directly with the BBC, but no “meaningful resolution” has been reached. The full statement we received from Take-Two follows:

Take-Two Interactive has filed suit against the BBC for trademark infringement based on their movie currently titled ‘Game Changer’ as it relates to Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto video game series.

While holders of the trademarks referenced in the film title and its promotion, Rockstar Games has had no involvement with this project. Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC's pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games. We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary.

The nature of suit addresses specifically the use of trademarks in the Game Changer title and assertion that it is based on the story of Grand Theft Auto's creation. The production focuses in part on the skirmish between Rockstar Games and outspoken former attorney Jack Thompson. The suit does not endeavor to shut filming down or otherwise chill the creative process.

Rockstar has not issued comment about the content of the production, nor is the company involved. We’ve reached out to the BBC for comment and will update should we receive a response.

 

Our Take
Given the narrow focus on this lawsuit, Rockstar appears to be engaging in normal practice to protect its brand. The company is clearly not involved in the production, but isn’t trying to shut it down. This seems more about making it extremely clear that this is an unofficial endeavor.