Grand Theft Auto Maker Sues BBC Over Trademark Infringement

Rockstar Games – the company behind the Grand Theft Auto video game – recently filed a lawsuit against the BBC over an upcoming film production.

Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar Games, has filed the lawsuit to ensure its trademarks are protected in the BBC drama, which it has not authorised or had any involvement with.

The drama at the heart of the legal action, called Game Changer, is based on the story behind the popular game and its creation, with Daniel Radcliffe starring in the role of Sam Houser (the president of Rockstar Games).

Clashes between the game development company and a lawyer in the US, Jack Thompson – who wanted the violent video games to be banned – also feature in the script.

Mr Thompson tried to sue Edinburgh-based Rockstar Games on numerous occasions, claiming that the game, which lets players hijack cars and shoot innocent bystanders (including police officers), increased the likelihood of violent crimes being committed by players.

However, Mr Thompson was unsuccessful after judges ruled against him.

In a statement, Rockstar Games said: “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.”

The filming of Game Changer is already in progress and is scheduled to be released later this year.

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Maung is a partner in our Corporate and Commercial department. He joined Mackrell Turner Garrett following corporate law positions in London and in a leading regional firm in Essex.