Take-Two Interactive has issued a trademark claim against Hazelight’s It Takes Two, forcing them to abandon ownership of the name.
Most companies tend to protect their IP, so Take-Two Interactive issuing trademark disputes against “Starrocks” in Beijing, China (as they are the parent company of Rockstar Games) would not be abnormal. Others are a little more debatable. Project 1920 Inc. used the slogan “Don’t be a rockstar, be a legend!,” while clothing brand Max Fayne both drew Take-Two’s ire this year.
In fact, Twitter use Ash R. noted Take-Two had “gone on a rampage” of trademark disputes. This included multiple claims of ownership of the words Rockstar, Bully, Take Two, and numerous variants. It would seem the latter has been levied against Hazelight’s It Takes Two.
The co-operative action adventure game sees Cody and May planning on divorcing- but turned into small dolls their daughter made. Guided by a living relationship therapy book, the pair must try to repair their relationship to return to their own bodies.
The title is an obvious references to numerous phrases on how relationships require both people to put in efforts and concessions. The game’s debut trailer also featured song It Takes Two by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston. According to Wikipedia [1, 2] “Take Two” has also been used of note in at least one book, one novel, five films, six TV series, five albums, and three other songs.
Video games industry lawyer Richard Hoeg shared his thoughts on his Virtual Legality podcast. He stated that Take-Two frequently takes advantage of companies needing the complex process of extensions and challenges to even challenge them.
“You can start to see applicants peremptorily limit their own applications to (try to) avoid getting extended out, as well as plenty of folks with legitimate applications simply choosing not to fight by defaulting on the opposition.
If you look at the Trial and Appeals Board, you can see that Take-Two as filed at least extension requests for 25 challenges in the last three months. Most other game companies go back 6 or 7 years to get to that number. Take-Two is being very, very aggressive.
It Takes Two by comparison, isn’t a company name, and it’s of limited use in any event due to the sheer number of goods and services that already use the phrase. I would suspect they simply wind up going untrademarked and relying on copyright.”
A Hazelight spokesperson stated they “cannot comment on ongoing disputes” when speaking to Eurogamer. However they did not dispute that they had been forced to abandon the trademark by Take-Two; and the team were “hopeful it will be resolved.” No statement was given on how this would affect selling It Takes Two, if there were any plans to rename it, and so forth.
Take-Two Interactive were also reportedly aggressive in taking down fan-made mods and reverse engineering projects for Grand Theft Auto games. This was shortly prior to and after the announcement of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition. This was followed by a disastrous and buggy launch, and Rockstar Games’ apology on the state of the games.
Take-Two Interactive were also accused of poaching Kerbal Space Program 2 and developers from Star Theory last year; after cancelling a contract with them. That same year they also allegedly sent private investigators to a YouTuber’s house to prevent him leaking Borderlands 3 details.
One definitive bit of controversy in 2021 came from Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick. He stated gamers were “ready” for $70 USD next-generation games.