Rockstar and Eidos in legal shenanigans

Written by Ryan Garside

August 3, 2006 | 11:47

Tags: #andreas #auto #court #gamasutra #gamesindustry #grand #law #legal #san #theft

Companies: #eidos #rockstar

Two interesting (and slightly amusing) gaming related court cases have popped onto our radar in the last few days involving British companies Rockstar and Eidos, here’s the low-down.

First up, the owners of Los Angles based ‘Playpen Gentlemen’s Club’ attempted to sue British company Rockstar. They claimed that the in game strip club from GTA: San Andreas, named ‘The Pig Pen’, violated the real world club’s trademarks. According to leaked documents obtained by Gamasutra, the Grand Theft Auto designers have won the case with the court agreeing that:

“Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas did not violate the strip club’s trademarked Play Pen sign, and was protected under the First Amendment.”

This case could now set a precedent for future game designers, who seemingly can use real world locations and institutions as a direct reference to their game design, providing they adhere to the courts specific rulings:

"The [Rockstar North] artists used the photographs of the Play Pen and various other East Los Angeles locations to design aspects of the Pig Pen", they "changed the names, building designs and overall look and feel of the locations... to make them fit the virtual, cartoon-style world of San Andreas and the series' irreverent tone."

In further gaming legality fun, Eidos are now considering legal action against the hilariously titled mobile phone game ‘Lava Kroft’. According to Gamesindustry , an Eidos spokesperson confirmed that the publisher has: “contacted our legal department and brand team who are currently investigating the matter”

Apparently the company who designed the new mobile phone action game see things in a different light, their marketing vice president, H.E. Mah, made this comment about their new game:

“The game consists of appealing storyline and [a] distinctive gaming atmosphere.”

Do you think ‘Lava Kroft’ will provide a distinctive gaming, mobile phone experience? What are your views on smaller companies jumping on larger companies bandwagons? Let us know all your thoughts on these two cases in the forums.
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