Security company Pinkerton have sent a cease and desist notice to Take Two last month alleging that the publisher has no rights to use the term Pinkerton in Red Dead Redemption 2's story. They also requested payment or royalty arrangements.
If you played Red Dead Redemption 2, you'll know just how persistent Pinkertons can be in their pursuit of Dutch's gang. Well, Rockstar also found that out in real life after security company Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations sent a cease and desist notice to Take-Two Interactive's address in which they require payment for the use of Pinkerton term in Red Dead Redemption 2's story.
According to The Verge, a cease and desist order was delivered in December 2018 and it states that Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations own the rights to "Pinkerton Detective Agency" and "Pinkertons" terms which appear in Red Dead Redemption 2.
They claim that Take-Two Interactive have infringed those rights by referencing the historical Pinkerton National Detective Agency, Pinkerton Agents and using the agency's historical badge in the game.
Take-Two responded to these accusations by saying that Pinkertons were referenced in other media like Bioshock Infinite, the movie The Long Riders and TV series Deadwood. They also said that Pinkerton are trying to profit off Red Dead Redemption 2 and have requested declaratory judgment against Pinkerton over the Red Dead Redemption 2 trademark complaint.
Take-Two's request states that their use of the brand falls under fair use, is protected by the first amendment and does not infringe on any rights held by Pinkerton. "The Pinkerton National Detective Agency is part of the history of America. Creative works about the American West are permitted as a matter of law to include such real historical events, figures, and businesses," is written in the request.
Well, it looks like both sides think they're in the right here. Take-Two's point about cashing in on Red Dead Redemption 2 is a fairly strong one as Pinkerton didn't seem to bother with other media which used their brand.