Minecraft Dev Wins Interim Injunction Over Scrolls Name

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.

  • killerclick

    and also Bethesda can s**k it!
  • TW_Honorius
    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.
  • dillonpeterliam
    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 . .
  • billybobser
    afaik, only the most die hard call it simply by 'scrolls'

    which pretty much accounts for the people who WON'T be confused
  • DSpider
    Has anyone noticed how this site is becoming more and more about law issues?
  • RabidFace
    Really...really Bethesda?

    You do not own the word "scrolls".

    "Move along, move along."
  • NuclearShadow
    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.
  • stereopsis
    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.
  • Goldengoose
    Why can't all matters be solved with Quake 3? It just...makes more sense to me.
  • AMD X6850
    Stop right there, criminal scum!