Why take a silly patent infringement dispute to court when you can settle the matter in a virtual arena of death?
Two weeks ago, Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson and his studio Mojang received a 15-page letter from Bethesda's lawyers stating that the name of his upcoming game "Scrolls" infringes upon Bethesda's own "The Elder Scrolls" trademark, and could possibly stir up some confusion when the fifth Elder Scrolls installment launches in November.
"Today, I got a 15 page letter from some Swedish lawyer firm, saying they demand us to stop using the name Scrolls, that they will sue us (and have already paid the fee to the Swedish court), and that they demand a pile of money up front before the legal process has even started," Persson said in his blog on August 5.
Since then, little else has been said about the "Scrolls" lawsuit until today. In a blog posted just hours ago, Persson came up with a way to resolve the alleged patent infringement dispute outside the legal system: a virtual duel. While at first this method sounds like a joke and even pulls up images of old Tom & Jerry cartoons (or something similar), Persson claims that this offer is definitely nothing to laugh at.
"Remember that scene in Game of Thrones where Tyrion chose a trial by battle in the Eyrie?" he writes. "Well, let’s do that instead! I challenge Bethesda to a game of Quake 3 [Arena]. Three of our best warriors against three of your best warriors. We select one level, you select the other, we randomize the order. 20 minute matches, highest total frag count per team across both levels wins."
Not a bad offer given that it's (assumably) cheap for both parties involved and quality entertainment for the fans. So what's the prize when one team emerges from the battle victorious?
"If we win, you drop the lawsuit," he suggests. "If you win, we will change the name of Scrolls to something you’re fine with. Regardless of the outcome, we could still have a small text somewhere saying our game is not related to your game series in any way, if you wish."
It sounds like a good plan, but given that it's a dog-eat-dog market saturated with frivolous patent infringement lawsuits as it is, it's highly unlikely Bethesda will bite on this unique peace offering.