Mojang and Bethesda argue over Scrolls lawsuit

Earlier this year, developer Mojang, best known for its hit PC sandbox game Minecraft, got hit with a lawsuit from publisher Bethesda Softworks. Bethesda claimed that the title of Mojang's next game, the fantasy RPG-collectible card game Scrolls, infringed on Bethesda's trademark for its long running Elder Scrolls series. At first Mojang's founder, Markus "Notch" Persson, wanted to settle the dispute with a Quake 3 multiplayer match, but it now looks like this lawsuit is heading to court.

Kotaku finally got Bethesda to officially comment on this lawsuit with Mojang for the first time. Bethesda's spokesperson Pete Hines said, "This is a business matter based on how trademark law works and it will continue to be dealt with by lawyers who understand it, not by me or our developers." The article points out that the US Patent and Trademark Office refused to register the trademark Scrolls to Mojang, stating, " ... the applicant has merely deleted the term ELDER from the registered mark. The mere deletion of wording from a registered mark may not be sufficient to overcome a likelihood of confusion."

For his part, Persson said Mojang has offered a number of different solutions to fix this issue with Bethesda, such as " ... us not getting the trademark, and us not using the word 'Scrolls' in its raw form, but as part of a longer title. [Zenimax] repeatedly refused, demanding we stop using the word 'Scrolls'." But Hines counters, "Mojang's public comments have not given a complete picture as it relates to their filings, our trademarks, or events that have taken place."

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Bethesda, Blizzard and Valve were my most respected companies unless Bethesda fixes this mess, they're going to lose their spot up there.

I really hope Bethesda lose this... it's ridiculous how companies think they are entitled to sole use of generic words like Scrolls.

" ... the applicant has merely deleted the term ELDER from the registered mark. The mere deletion of wording from a registered mark may not be sufficient to overcome a likelihood of confusion."

And that's 50% of the other trade mark.

I could understand if he had released a game called "Halo" or "Killzone". But "Scrolls"? Bethesda don't have a game called Scrolls.

I hope this goes to court and I hope a competent judge puts Bethesda in their place for claiming a trademark with a different name is in fact the same as their trademark.

So technically the smartest idea is to start trademarking long phrases and if anyone uses words from it then you can sue?

splur said,
So technically the smartest idea is to start trademarking long phrases and if anyone uses words from it then you can sue?

I am writing this to inform you that I have trademarked the phrase "smartest idea" and I must ask you to cease and desist from using it or you will be hearing from my attorneys.

I love Bethesda, but I honestly don't see how people could mistake Elder Scrolls for a card game simply named Scrolls as being the same thing.

Considering this is the first public comment they've made that I can find? I'm guessing Mojang's comments on how infuriating it is to have them discuss anything with someone that can actually stop this stupidity and not just the faceless lawyers who are directed to hammer down the doors and get things started is fairly accurate.