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Minecraft Dev Wins Interim Injunction Over Scrolls Name

By - Source: CVG | B 31 comments

Minecraft developer Mojang can use the name "Scrolls" for its upcoming game... for now.

Tuesday Mojang founder Markus 'Notch' Persson decided to offer an update on the studio's battle with Bethesda via Twitter instead of his typical blog, revealing that they won an interim injunction against Bethesda over the use of the word "Scrolls."

The dispute originally began back in August when Mojang received a letter from Bethesda's attorneys saying that the Minecraft developer's use of "Scrolls" infringed upon its The Elder Scrolls trademark. Bethesda said that the use of "Scrolls" outside its own Elder Scrolls franchise would cause confusion, and that the company would sue Mojang if the upcoming game's name wasn't changed.

Naturally Persson and Mojang were ready to battle it out with the Skyrim developer, and even offered to duke it out in a game of Quake 3 Arena. "When Bethesda contacted us, we offered both to change the name to “Scrolls: <some subtitle>” and to give up the trademark," Persson said a few weeks ago on his blog. "They refused on both counts. Whatever reason they have for suing us, it’s not a fear of us having a trademark on the word “Scrolls”, as we’ve offered to give that up."

But now that Mojang has won an interim injunction, there's a question as to what will happen next. Bethesda and parent company Zenimax will likely not give up, as both parties are out to protect their product. The injunction is even surprising given that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office saw that Mojang's use of "Scrolls" would be confusing, and thus rejected the studio's U.S. trademark application.

As reported by Kotaku, Mojang is just a small portion of the overall picture. Zenimax is responding to potential trademark infringement, and if it doesn't do so now even if Mojang's actions were not intentional, then it may have a problem fighting against future game developers or other entertainment suppliers stealing the Scrolls term on purpose.

"Failing to protect a trademark could be damaging to an owner's rights," said Angela Bozzuti, an associate specializing in trademark law at Davis & Gilbert LLP in New York City. "Not only could it result in actual consumer confusion, but it could also weaken the strength of the mark in the marketplace. Furthermore, once there is widespread third party use of the term 'Scrolls' as or within a longer game title, it will likely weaken Zenimax's mark and make protection difficult and limited."

Still, the battle seems won for Mojang for now. "I am very happy," Persson admits. "We never meant to infringe on anything Bethesda does, and this means we didn't. I love those guys!"

Sorry Notch, but there's a good chance they're not liking you right now.

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  • 20 Hide
    TW_Honorius , October 19, 2011 7:30 AM
    i think people will call the game skyrim more than any other long ass name with the word scrolls in it.

    Also, nintendo will sue any game with the word "Super" in it if the injunction is lifted.
  • 16 Hide
    Goldengoose , October 19, 2011 10:05 AM
    Why can't all matters be solved with Quake 3? It just...makes more sense to me.
  • 15 Hide
    dillonpeterliam , October 19, 2011 8:07 AM
    I really like Bethesda's games and will end up sinking allot of hours into Skyrim, but suing over "Scrolls" is just nit-picking. I'm glad Mojang are winning thus far . .
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , October 19, 2011 7:29 AM
    11.11.11.

    and also Bethesda can s**k it!
  • 20 Hide
    TW_Honorius , October 19, 2011 7:30 AM
    i think people will call the game skyrim more than any other long ass name with the word scrolls in it.

    Also, nintendo will sue any game with the word "Super" in it if the injunction is lifted.
  • 15 Hide
    dillonpeterliam , October 19, 2011 8:07 AM
    I really like Bethesda's games and will end up sinking allot of hours into Skyrim, but suing over "Scrolls" is just nit-picking. I'm glad Mojang are winning thus far . .
  • 8 Hide
    billybobser , October 19, 2011 8:14 AM
    afaik, only the most die hard call it simply by 'scrolls'

    which pretty much accounts for the people who WON'T be confused
  • 0 Hide
    DSpider , October 19, 2011 9:09 AM
    Has anyone noticed how this site is becoming more and more about law issues?
  • 11 Hide
    RabidFace , October 19, 2011 9:14 AM
    Really...really Bethesda?

    You do not own the word "scrolls".

    "Move along, move along."
  • 2 Hide
    NuclearShadow , October 19, 2011 9:24 AM
    You know, if there was any case where gamers should have stepped up and made their voices known it should be on this. We should not only have made it known that we are not confused by the Elder Scrolls series and Notch's game called Scrolls.

    I also think we should have expressed to Bethesda how unpopular this is amongst it's consumer base (gamers). It's a shame that all other groups of people who share something in common can protest, and help make changes even women in the middle east who risk being severely punished
    by lashing, beatings, imprisonment, or even death. Under those extreme conditions they still stand up, yet the majority of us gamers remain silent when our possible punishment is what? A self imposed action of missing out on a single title?

    If Notch's scrolls sells for $20, I will buy it three times instead of buying Skyrim once. Notch's game doesn't even intrest me at this point, but I would rather give my money to him than Bethesda at this point despite my desire to play Skyrim. Maybe I will go out and finally buy a 360 and buy the game second hand when it comes out.
    This way I can get the game legally and not give Bethesda a penny.
  • 1 Hide
    stereopsis , October 19, 2011 9:31 AM
    There is way too much litigation happening. People should just get on with the business of making games and letting the games speak for themselves.
  • 16 Hide
    Goldengoose , October 19, 2011 10:05 AM
    Why can't all matters be solved with Quake 3? It just...makes more sense to me.
  • 4 Hide
    AMD X6850 , October 19, 2011 11:21 AM
    Stop right there, criminal scum!
  • 0 Hide
    monktongaz , October 19, 2011 12:32 PM
    Bethesda have a legal right to defend their trademark if they feel it necessary. If you're a fan of Mojang, are you honestly suggesting that Bethesda are denied this right?

    There is something here that doesn't fit. Mojang claim that they offered to change the name of the game. This would have dropped this thing dead, so why didn't they follow through and actually change it?

    We're not getting the full facts here, and making hasty judgements based on only one view (Mojang's) of the whole is ridiculous, both in this case and in life in general.
  • 3 Hide
    Yuka , October 19, 2011 12:48 PM
    They should've gone with the Quake match.

    Cheers!
  • 2 Hide
    jacobdrj , October 19, 2011 2:52 PM
    I'm really sorry, but I think this is a rare case where Bethesda had a point. Any time someone said 'Scrolls' I thought they were just people referring to Elder Scrolls in short-hand. I have never played Elder Scrolls, nor do I plan to. But I would never have even looked at this game because I immediately assumed it was 'another Elders Scrolls game.

    I also thought Minecraft had something to do with Blizzard, because they have a tendency to add '-craft' to the suffix of their Strategy games... Star-Craft, War-Craft, Mine-Craft...

    IMHO, the creator of the Minecraft/Scrolls games is strategically using recognizable pieces of other people's IP in a confusing way.
  • -1 Hide
    hoof_hearted , October 19, 2011 3:06 PM
    I don't get why this trademark stuff don't apply to movie titles.

    I am not really familiar with kid movies. I saw "Puss in Boots" at the redbox the other day and decided to rent it thinking it was a spinoff thing from Shrek that went straight to DVD. I got screwed. It was some cheap ass knock off garbage and after the fact, I read the find print and saw "not the Antonio Banderas movie coming out in the end of November".

    My point is that this is quite purposeful consumer confusion just to get my buck. Sure a buck isn't much to myself personally, but I am sure redbox and this scumbag movie studio make a good amount of money off this purposeful consumer confusion. And they do this same thing with many feature movies. I have seen this many times. This time I actually got snagged.
  • 3 Hide
    jacobdrj , October 19, 2011 3:20 PM
    hoof_heartedI don't get why this trademark stuff don't apply to movie titles.I am not really familiar with kid movies. I saw "Puss in Boots" at the redbox the other day and decided to rent it thinking it was a spinoff thing from Shrek that went straight to DVD. I got screwed. It was some cheap ass knock off garbage and after the fact, I read the find print and saw "not the Antonio Banderas movie coming out in the end of November".My point is that this is quite purposeful consumer confusion just to get my buck. Sure a buck isn't much to myself personally, but I am sure redbox and this scumbag movie studio make a good amount of money off this purposeful consumer confusion. And they do this same thing with many feature movies. I have seen this many times. This time I actually got snagged.

    It does. Avatar was supposed to be the movie about the Last Airbender... But because Cameron beat them to the punch, he got rights to the Avatar name, and Avatar: The Last Airbender had to switch their name. It confused a LOT of people too... You could literally be talking about a completely different movie for a whole conversation before you realized they other person was thinking about Blue Aliens or Martial Arts...
  • 1 Hide
    hoof_hearted , October 19, 2011 3:25 PM
    jacobdrjIt does. Avatar was supposed to be the movie about the Last Airbender... But because Cameron beat them to the punch, he got rights to the Avatar name, and Avatar: The Last Airbender had to switch their name. It confused a LOT of people too... You could literally be talking about a completely different movie for a whole conversation before you realized they other person was thinking about Blue Aliens or Martial Arts...


    Well, William Shatner should have his ass handed to him by Dreamworks for this scam.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 19, 2011 4:11 PM
    rabidfaceReally...really Bethesda?You do not own the word "scrolls"."Move along, move along."

    If it was iScrolls it would be a completely different matter of course...
  • 2 Hide
    onichikun , October 19, 2011 5:49 PM
    jacobdrjI'm really sorry, but I think this is a rare case where Bethesda had a point. Any time someone said 'Scrolls' I thought they were just people referring to Elder Scrolls in short-hand. I have never played Elder Scrolls, nor do I plan to. But I would never have even looked at this game because I immediately assumed it was 'another Elders Scrolls game.I also thought Minecraft had something to do with Blizzard, because they have a tendency to add '-craft' to the suffix of their Strategy games... Star-Craft, War-Craft, Mine-Craft...IMHO, the creator of the Minecraft/Scrolls games is strategically using recognizable pieces of other people's IP in a confusing way.


    I guess if you have the habit of immediately appropriating a word with a companies IP, you can fall victim to this. I'm assuming when people referred to a "craft store" you also thought they meant a WoW auction house?

    It seems to me customers need to wise up and really know what they are buying, rather than just shell out money because they assume that because a game/movie shares a part or even the same title it is the same series/IP.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2011 6:07 PM
    They really don't give people credit. Thinking the word "scrolls" is going to confuse us feeble minded little people?
  • 3 Hide
    Stryter , October 19, 2011 6:26 PM
    dspiderHas anyone noticed how this site is becoming more and more about law issues?


    You're right, we need a Tom's Law site for this kind of stuff. lol

    Also, I would have paid to see these two go at it in Quake. Would have been awesome to see something like this get settled with a good ole fashioned fragfest.
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