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.