Leslie Benzies, someone who is well-known within the gaming community for being the president of Rockstar North, the studio responsible for the Grand Theft Auto franchise, is once again in another legal battle with Rockstar Games. This time over trying to ‘Solicit’ Rockstar employees.
It’s been no secret that since Leslie Benzies departed Rockstar North in January 2016, he and Rockstar Games have not been on the best of terms. After leaving, Benzies started legal action against Rockstar claiming they owed him $150 million in unpaid royalties. In March 2018, 12 of his 18 claims were dismissed, though the court did rule that Benzies “remains entitled to receive certain royalties” as part of his compensation.
In October, he announced that his new company is called ‘Build A Rocket Boy games’ and is working on an upcoming open world game called ‘Everywhere,’ with studios based in Edinburgh, Budapest and Los Angeles. Now, Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar Games and Rockstar North, have filed a letter to the New York Supreme Court accusing Benzie’s company of poaching employees from Rockstar North. The letter reads, “It appears that Royal Circus Games (Benzies Company) may have targeted these employees based on knowledge of confidential personal and business practices only available to it because of the former RSG employees’ prior employment at RSG.”
Take-Two Interactive has also accused Royal Circus Games of attempting to trick consumers into believing that Royal Circus Games (RCG) is part of Rockstar Games (RSG), along with presuming that RSG will use an R design for the logo. (Not confirmed.)
Benzie’s company, Royal Circus Games did change their name at the end of October 2018 to ‘Build a Rocket Boy Games’, which does resolve that issue. The letter was originally addressed to Christian Poziemski, who was the Director of RCG before his resignation. The letter stated, “The choice of the Royal Circus Games trademark – which shortens to RCG and will presumably use an R design logo – is clearly intended to cause confusion with the RSG trademarks and mislead consumers into believing that there is an affiliation, connection or association between RCG and RSG.”
It will be interesting to see where this lawsuit goes with Rockstar Games and Leslie Benzies. Wouldn’t it just be nice if everyone could just get along?
Our letter court quotes are from Scotsman. Along with them being the main source – Check them out.