THE makers of GTA are trademarking the game title “Judas” – just days after their former Scottish boss launched a £105m lawsuit against them.
Gaming websites have suggested that the name is a sly dig at Leslie Benzies, who is suing his old employers for a fortune in alleged unpaid royalties.
Take Two Interactive, who own Edinburgh-based Rockstar North, have filed the trademark application with the European Union.
The application, which was filed last week, seeks to prevent anyone else creating a video game called Judas.
But one gaming site speculated online that the patent bid was a reaction to Take Two’s “spat” with Mr Benzies.
Mr Benzies, originally from Aberdeen and now living in California, was head of Rockstar North and director of Grant Theft Auto (GTA) 5 which on its release in September 2013 became one the biggest-selling video games in history.
It emerged on April 12 that he is suing Take Two for $150m in the New York courts, claiming a sabbatical was a ruse to get him out of the firm and deny a royalty deal which shared the huge profits from the GTA franchise.
The trademark was listed on the European Union intellectual property office’s website on April 21 and shows that Take Two Interactive Software Inc want to trademark the word ‘Judas’ so that it can be used in relation to their upcoming video games.
It has been classified by the number nine, which means that they are planning to use the word for “Computer and video game programs and software”, and by the number 41, which means the file is in relation to: “Entertainment services, namely, providing online games, providing a website featuring computer games and video games.”
An article on the gaming website, SegmentNext.com, poses the question: “New Rockstar Trademark is Called “Judas”, What Are They Up To?”
The article goes on to say: “The Rockstar trademark might even be in relation to the company’s recent spat with fired employee Leslie Benzies, who left the studio a few days ago after a spat involving the Houser brothers (the founders of Rockstar).
Fellow gaming site, ‘Gamereactor’ are similarly suspicious of the meaning behind the new trademark’s name.
In an article on their site titled ‘Cryptic filing has everyone guessing’, they say: “What exactly is Rockstar up to? They recently filed a new trademark for something called Judas.
“Judas doesn’t really fit in with anything currently known as being developed by Rockstar, so it might be a brand new IP, perhaps even a historic game of some sorts considering that Judas is a biblical figure.
“It could of course also be something completely else, something to do with the ongoing spat with ex-employee Leslie Benzies perhaps?”
After the record breaking success of GTA 5, Mr Benzies claims he was “encouraged” to take a sabbatical by colleagues Sam and Dan Houser after 19 years of “tireless dedication”.
The Housers and Mr Benzies also entered an agreement that stated the three of them would split royalties from the GTA gaming series equally.
However, upon his return, Mr Benzies says he discovered that his pass to enter the Rockstar offices had been disabled and he was escorted off the premises by a security guard.
He also states that whilst he was away, the Houser brothers had “allocated at least
£65 million in profit sharing to themselves with another £367 million unaccounted for” and that during this period he did not receive a single payment.