Take-Two is suing Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations. The company, founded as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1850, filed a cease-and-desist letter against the makers of Red Dead Redemption 2 in December for the use of their name in association with the characters Andrew Milton and Edgar Ross. Take-Two is now suing to have the use of the Pinkerton Detective Agency in their game declared fair use, arguing that the investigative firm’s name is part of the historical setting.
The Pinkerton complaint accuses Red Dead Redemption 2 of capitalizing on the “goodwill” associated with the storied security agency’s trademark, and creates the false impression that the game was made with their approval or assistance. Pinkerton demands ongoing royalties from sales of the game, or a one-time payment based on projected sales.
Take-Two asserts that the use of the Pinkerton name in their fictional setting is covered under the First Amendment. They also point out in their lawsuit that there is a long history of popular fiction using the Pinkerton Detective Agency’s name including BioShock, Deadwood, and The Long Riders.