Minecraft creator sued by Bethesda Softworks

In a case of "scrappy but popular indie developer" vs "big game publisher" Minecraft's creator Markus "Notch" Persson has announced on his official blog site that his company Mojang is now facing a lawsuit filed by Bethesda Softworks. The issue is the title for Mojang's next game Scrolls which was announced earlier this year. Persson is not directly involved in the development of this game which is a fantasy tactical strategy title which also uses collectible cards.

In Persson's blog post he writes that on advice from his lawyers that he decided to trademark the name Minecraft a few months ago. "At the same time, we also applied for 'Scrolls', the new game we’re working on. We knew of no similarly named games, and we had even Googled it to make sure. I’m not even sure if you CAN trademark individual words, like 'Scrolls', but we sent in the application anyway."

Some time later, Persson said he got a note from some lawyers representing Bethesda Softworks who claimed that the name "Scrolls" conflicted with their long running fantasy RPG series "The Elder Scrolls". Perrson writes, "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." Persson added, "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."

Apparently that wasn't enough to appease the lawyers. Persson writes that on Friday they received a note from Bethesda's lawyers asking Mojang "... 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." So far, Bethesda has not commented publicly on this legal move.

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Bethesda Softworks sued for failing to defuse the a-bomb in Oblivion! I suspect they will also be sued for the buggy as hell FO:NV.

This is typical and not worth any of the hype that it is getting. Seriously...

Bethesda thinks it infringes on their trademark and they are going to send out letters telling them to stop. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about. If they feel they aren't in violation then they can take the case to court and let the judge sort it out. The big issue would be how similar of a game (genre wise) the two games are. If they are in the same Genre then Bethesda will more than likely win.

You can trademark common names as long as you make them novel enough. That is why we have trademarks out there on Apple, Windows, Google, Steam, Valve, and a whole host of othe standard english words...

They cannot stop him using the name Scrolls! I think they should fight it and counter sue for damages and whatever else they ca.

Make a mark against the big companies who think they can bully indie developers that in a lot of cases develop far better games than they ever could with their huge teams.

Everyone call those games Morrowind, Oblivion and such. The name Elder Scrolls is rarely used actually.

Copyright and Trademark law is ludicrous... Eventually the entire enlish dictionary will be copyrighted by some company or another, and when you make a game you'll have to sue to prove that: "Star Vivisection Craft - Scrolls of The Ancient Forensic Pathologists" isn't already taken for you childrens game about dinosuar crime solvers.

I hope Notch fights this, this is just bullying imho...hoping to scare the small guy into paying huge settlement sums to avoid legal battles.

At the very least I hope if it is fought that the judge sees sense and just makes notch change the name, but no costs other than his own legal fees payed.

Never been fan of Bethesda games after Morrowind so not really a big loss to stop supporting them all together after this. They use more money on PR and lawyers than making actual games.

Going on Bethesda's logic, Ubisoft should sue Bethesda for Fallout : New Vegas, which is just as similar as Rainbow Six : Vegas.

It's about the same relativity in name so so for it Ubisoft.

Ash said,
Going on Bethesda's logic, Ubisoft should sue Bethesda for Fallout : New Vegas, which is just as similar as Rainbow Six : Vegas.

It's about the same relativity in name so so for it Ubisoft.

Ahh but neither of those are a small guy they can bully.

Bethesda, you dropped the ball with Brink, I'm SERIOUSLY considering whether or not to go for Rage (because now I know you can polish a turd well) and then you go and pick on these guys?

Grow the f*ck up.

I have never played minecraft and am somewhat a fan of Elder Scrolls, however I am canceling my pre-order of ES5. This is just ridiculous and I'm sick of it! Go to hell, lawyers!

Well they need to change the name or be sued into oblivion the choose seems simple. If they are stupid enough to fight Bethesda in court then they will go the way of the Dodo!

I thought I had hit jackpot when I found the elder scrolls in my local game store. I was ecstatic but slightly disappointed. I thought Mojang had released Scrolls without even telling me. Regardless I ran home with the game, my hands sweating.

mfw, after 20 hours I realise its just some stupid 3d game and not the fantastical Scrollls game I've been eagerly awaiting from Mojang.

Bethesda should really consider putting warning stickers on their 'the elder scrolls' boxes!
Anyone could be like me and accidently not read the title, description or look at the pictures on the back of the box and simply just be too excited to play Mojang's Scrolls and by total mistake buy Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls and be left thoroughly confused and disappointed by a 3D game that they have no interest in buying.

[/sarc]

He never did say whether his trademarks came back successful or not. If they do, he's got a case. If they don't, he might lose out.

Scrolls is a bit to generic to either trademark or sue for in my book.

Scrolls doesn't mecssarily scream card based fantasy tactical strategy either. Should be fairly easy to come up with something.

Use a different language for example:

Scrolls in Icelandic: Rolla
Italian: Scorre
Latin: Volumina
Swedish: Ruller

To name a few. They can get creative. This is an easy hurdle.

VII said,
Scrolls doesn't mecssarily scream card based fantasy tactical strategy either. Should be fairly easy to come up with something.

Use a different language for example:

Scrolls in Icelandic: Rolla
Italian: Scorre
Latin: Volumina
Swedish: Ruller

To name a few. They can get creative. This is an easy hurdle.

Actually "scorre" in italian slang means "farts"

VII said,
Scrolls doesn't mecssarily scream card based fantasy tactical strategy either. Should be fairly easy to come up with something.

Use a different language for example:

Scrolls in Icelandic: Rolla
Italian: Scorre
Latin: Volumina
Swedish: Ruller

To name a few. They can get creative. This is an easy hurdle.

Swedish: Rullar
One rulle, two rullar.

boogerjones said,
He was sent a cease-and-desist letter. He's not being sued. Yet.

"that they will sue us (and have already paid the fee to the Swedish court)"

If the paperwork was filed, then he is being sued... they could just ask to dismiss the case however if he complies.

and most people don't type out "The Elder Scrolls: oblivion" or "the elder scrolls:skyrim".... they just say oblivion or skyrim.

Also to note "The Elder Scrolls" is usually the subtitle for the game. As in if you look at official titles, "The Elder Scrolls" is in smaller print than "Skyrim" or "Oblivian"

I know its the name of the series but its not the focal point of the title of the game.

That's really stupid, Bethesda doesn't own the word scrolls. Judge should not only throw this out but also make Bethesda pay Mojang's legal fees.

Ive not played either of these games as they do not interest me but all this is, is another company bullying another from what i can see, its like Apple saying you can not use "App Store" or "iWhatever" to others because there will be confusion. How can people confuse the android store with the i store? you can not! Just like you can not mistake elder scrolls with minecraft the graphics are way different!

Next companies will be complaining that other titles sound the same as theirs and they they are suing one another Its like the Battlefield collection everyone knows thats a great game and that its made by EA but im betting one day a game will come out called "Frontline Battlefield" and EA will say its too close to there gaming names of "Battlefiled (whatever)"

Xoligy said,
; Just like you can not mistake elder scrolls with minecraft the graphics are way different

You realize that this is not at all the issue at hand right? They're not suing because Minecraft is similar to Elder Scrolls.

Okay to be fair it does sound a little too close to be comfortable. I'll let the lawyers figure out the legality, but I'm sure it's perfectly legal.

articuno1au said,
Weak..

The title isn't likely to be confused with Elder Scrolls :\

Just pathetic.

I agree, I know that they're all part of the Elder Scrolls series but I and everyone just uses the current name.

For example, Oblivion or Morrowind.

The Elder Scrolls part is just an after thought for me.