(CN) – Owners of a strip club cannot claim trademark infringement by makers of the “Grand Theft Auto” video game, the 9th Circuit ruled. Owners of “The Play Pen” in Los Angeles claimed “The Pig Pen” in the fictional city of Los Santos infringed its mark.
ESS Entertainment 2000, owners of “The Play Pen,” sued Rock Star Games for its depiction of “The Pig Pen,” a strip club in the game’s virtual Los Angeles, known in the game as Los Santos.
ESS claimed the name and logo of the virtual strip club were similar enough to constitute infringement, but the trial court and Judge O’Scannlain disagreed.
While the inclusion of the Play Pen had “artistic relevance,” the judge wrote, there was no market confusion involved.
“Nothing indicates that the buying public would have reasonably believed that ESS produced the video game or, for that matter, that Rockstar operated a strip club,” O’Scannlain wrote.