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Bethesda Suing Minecraft Developer Over "Scrolls"

By - Source: The World of Notch | B 58 comments

Bethesda's lawyers has contacted Minecraft creator Markus 'Notch' Persson over the use of "Scrolls."

Bethesda has reportedly sent a letter (photo) to Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson and his studio Mojang in regards to using the term "Scrolls" as their next game title. According to the Skyrim developer, the title infringes upon its 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 Friday.

He explains that around six months ago, Mojang's lawyers insisted that the studio register "Minecraft" as a trademark. At the time, they also applied for "Scrolls," the next PC game on the release schedule. At the time, they didn't see any titles that used that specific term, and they even questioned if it was possible to trademark individual words like "Scrolls," but filed anyway just in case.

"A while later, out of the blue, we got contacted by Bethesda’s lawyers," he said. "They wanted to know more about the 'Scrolls' trademark we were applying for, and claimed it conflicted with their existing trademark 'The Elder Scrolls.' I agree that the word 'Scrolls' is part of that trademark, but as a gamer, I have never ever considered that series of (very good) role playing games to be about scrolls in any way, nor was that ever the focal point of neither their marketing nor the public image."

"The implication that you could own the right to all individual words within a trademark is also a bit scary," he went on to say. "We looked things up and realized they didn’t have much of a case, but we still took it seriously. Nothing about Scrolls is meant to in any way derive from or allude to their games. We suggested a compromise where we’d agree to never put any words in front of 'Scrolls,' and instead call sequels and other things something along the lines of 'Scrolls - The Banana Expansion.' I’m not sure if they ever got back to us with a reply to this."

But now the Minecraft developer is holding a 15-page letter from Bethesda's lawyers. "I assume this is all some more or less automated response to us applying for the trademark," he said. "I sincerely hope Bethesda isn’t pulling a Tim Langdell."

He also added that he "still <3 Bethesda," via his Twitter account. "This is hopefully just lawyers being lawyers."

Notch and his studio may be forced to find another name. Back in November 2010, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent Facebook a Notice of Allowance, permitting the social network to trademark "Face" under certain conditions: that it must pay the issue fee within three months, file a sworn "Statement of Use" that says it intends to use the trademark on products, and then use the trademark on its own in commerce before it can legally claim the word.

"A first request for extension of time to file a Statement of Use has been granted," reads the trademark's current status.

So far Bethesda has not provided a statement, as the studio is currently sporting Skyrim and other titles at QuakeCon 2011 taking place in Texas. Expect some kind of response shortly.

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  • 25 Hide
    joytech22 , August 6, 2011 2:43 AM
    Oh this is just stupid.

    That's like suing a bakery for selling scrolls, because:
    Quote:
    "It could possibly stir up some confusion when the fifth Elder Scrolls installment launches in November."
  • 24 Hide
    FloKid , August 6, 2011 2:43 AM
    Pretty sure dictionaries will be soon sued for every single word in them.
  • 22 Hide
    Soma42 , August 6, 2011 3:05 AM
    Oh Bethesda how much respect I just lost for you...
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    bustapr , August 6, 2011 2:27 AM
    NO Bethesda, not you too DX
  • 11 Hide
    Dreamion , August 6, 2011 2:40 AM
    If Bethesda are such crybabies maybe they should've thought of getting the name "Scrolls" before? nooo, they didn't. Is this a joke?..
  • 25 Hide
    joytech22 , August 6, 2011 2:43 AM
    Oh this is just stupid.

    That's like suing a bakery for selling scrolls, because:
    Quote:
    "It could possibly stir up some confusion when the fifth Elder Scrolls installment launches in November."
  • 24 Hide
    FloKid , August 6, 2011 2:43 AM
    Pretty sure dictionaries will be soon sued for every single word in them.
  • 7 Hide
    anxiousinfusion , August 6, 2011 2:45 AM
    I know it's childish, but now based solely on this, I will be sure to avoid elder scrolls and other bestheda titles. They're just worried that a real game is going to take over the market.
  • 13 Hide
    Darkerson , August 6, 2011 2:45 AM
    This would be like Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast suing Kalypso Media over their game "Dungeons" because it might "confuse" players into thinking it has some relation to "Dungeons and Dragons".

    Anyway, if you take a look at the games (The Elder Scrolls V and Scrolls), it becomes apparently obvious they have nothing in common. One is an open ended RPG, one is a card game.
  • -6 Hide
    jimmysmitty , August 6, 2011 2:49 AM
    anxiousinfusionI know it's childish, but now based solely on this, I will be sure to avoid elder scrolls and other bestheda titles. They're just worried that a real game is going to take over the market.


    Not sure what you mean but last time I checked, TES is the biggest in RPGs. They are the best as well.

    I understand why they are doing it, and doubt it would end badly. I think Scrollcraft would have been a better name.
  • 12 Hide
    Darkerson , August 6, 2011 2:51 AM
    jimmysmitty They are the best as well.


    Opinion = Facts?
  • 21 Hide
    Martin 71 , August 6, 2011 2:53 AM
    Honestly I don't see how they own the word scrolls. Next you'll see suing over the words call, of, and duty.
  • 22 Hide
    Soma42 , August 6, 2011 3:05 AM
    Oh Bethesda how much respect I just lost for you...
  • 12 Hide
    brickman , August 6, 2011 3:07 AM
    Im so sick of everyone suing each other. I will sue everyone because im tired of them suing eachother. I will be a trillionare :p 
  • -6 Hide
    molo9000 , August 6, 2011 3:07 AM
    First they butchered the Fallout franchise... now this...

    Can't bring myself to not play Skyrim though....
  • -4 Hide
    mortsmi7 , August 6, 2011 3:53 AM
    jimmysmittyNot sure what you mean but last time I checked, TES is the biggest in RPGs. They are the best as well.I understand why they are doing it, and doubt it would end badly. I think Scrollcraft would have been a better name.

    Yep, I install and play Elder Scrolls IV when I'm bored to tears of every other game I own. Guess that's really only once a year, if that. I think Steam has me up to 17 hrs play time now.
  • 11 Hide
    randomizer , August 6, 2011 4:01 AM
    You would have to be a daft fool to confuse the two.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , August 6, 2011 4:32 AM
    I dont remember blizzard sued anyone using the 'craft' word
  • -2 Hide
    JamesSneed , August 6, 2011 4:34 AM
    Patent "Scrolls"? Next thing you know companies will start patenting every day items like say Windows.
  • 6 Hide
    Trueno07 , August 6, 2011 4:53 AM
    To be honest, i don't think the Skyrim team got together around a table and said "Hey! Screw Mojang and there scrolls trademark! Lets get our lawyers on that now!"

    I hope notch is right when he says that it's just a type of automated response.
  • 22 Hide
    ikyung , August 6, 2011 5:34 AM
    By year 2050. Games will be named 0B187A28. Cuz all the words would be copyrighted.
  • 11 Hide
    skaz , August 6, 2011 5:56 AM
    ikyungBy year 2050. Games will be named 0B187A28. Cuz all the words would be copyrighted.


    Haha! So true. It's honestly getting ridiculous.
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