Minecraft-Bethesda fight going to court

Creator of open-ended PC indie hit says trademark battle over the use of "Scrolls" in the name of Mojang's next game could not be settled.

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In August, Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson suggested his legal tussle with The Elder Scrolls publisher Bethesda Softworks be settled with a few games of Quake III Arena. It turns out that not only did Bethesda balk at that idea, but the two sides apparently couldn't come to a settlement on the issue at all.

The next Elder Scrolls game arrives November 11.

Earlier today, Persson posted on his Twitter account, "The Scrolls case is going to court! Weee! :D"

The dispute went public in early August, when Persson posted on his blog about a threat from Bethesda's legal team regarding the title of his next project, Scrolls. Bethesda has a trademark on its Elder Scrolls series of games, the latest installment of which, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is set to launch later this year.

"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 wrote at the time. "The implication that you could own the right to all individual words within a trademark is also a bit scary. 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."

Persson went on to stress that he was still a fan of Bethesda's work but called the situation nonsense. As for why it was happening, Persson said it was "partly just their lawyers being lawyers, and a result of trademark law being the way it is."

Discussion

508 comments
GBASWFan
GBASWFan

As much as I love Bethesda, I have to go with Mojang on this. Still, there are dips that may mistake the 2 games. Go figure.

mitch7236
mitch7236

They do not own the language. So if someone makes a game and calls it "My Elder Brother", will they sue because they have used elder!! Next they will try to sue you for using "The" or the Roman numeral for five in your title. If they are successful in this, then the makers of the very first pc game to use or mention scrolls will be able to sue them. Where will it end. If they had used the term "elder scroll" or "elder scrolls" then I could understand. Or, a name gamers will be familiar with, if they had used "eldar", then there is an issue. I say again....They do not own the language!!! Are they going to make keyboard manufacturers stopping using the term "scroll key"? Or is it all just another big advertising scam.....?....?.....?

mattdadrus
mattdadrus

I am on Mojangs side, I don't think it is necessary for Beth to sue Mojang for putting the word "scrolls" in Notch's upcoming game, Scrolls I mean really, Fortresscraft was not sued by Mojang for putting "craft" in their game's name. Why would Beth sue Mojang for putting "scrolls" in his upcoming game? Maybe Beth is just being mean to Mojang to get more buys. Thats what Major companies want,Money.

Jkik2000
Jkik2000

Bethesda you jerk...I'm donating the money I was going to spend on Skyrim to Mojang to help with the legal process :)

rbereczki
rbereczki

Seems like everyone is suing everyone nowadays. I think it's just a part of the maximizing profits strategy of modern business.

isshiah
isshiah

if his game was called "scrolls of the elders" i'd see a problem. as it is, though, i doubt they have a legal leg to stand on.

ThePurpleBubble
ThePurpleBubble

@Scorchstar You say it would be awesome to work for Bethesda... But, really, who do you think has more fun? The developers at Bethesa, or the ones at Mojang? I don't think you needed to make three posts expressing your dislike for Minecraft and your love for Bethesda, really... :P

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

I'm still buying Skyrim when it comes out but....this whole lawsuit is dumb. You cant trademark a word that's been used for thousands of years.

echoedpulse23
echoedpulse23

You go Persson!!! Take down the man! ****in lawyers

Dezuria
Dezuria

Bethesda is whiny. There's a game coming called World of Warplanes, and Blizzard hasn't said anything(yet)

Thuganomic05
Thuganomic05

I think Persson handled it well - and maturely. Especially when offering a little gaming competition for the usage of the word. At least he didn't try throwing money at him like a corporate gaming company would have. But then again - had he.... he probably would've been able to use it.

sieg6529
sieg6529

This is just petty, and only being done because Skyrim is launching this year and the lawyers are hyper-sensitive. They're hoping they can scare him into submission because they can afford the legal battle better than he can, but if he wins they will have to pay his court costs.

8smokes
8smokes

I feel the need to clarify a couple of things: We realized we should apply for the trademark "Minecraft" to protect our brand. When doing so, we also sent in an application for "Scrolls". When Bethesda contacted us, we offered both to change the name to "Scrolls: [some subtitle]" and to give up the trademark. 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. Source: http://kotaku.com/5846240/notch-offered-to-give-up-scrolls-trademark-bethesda-sued-anyway ^^ That's simply the game of business. Some people play differently, some people play it like this. If you can't handle it, you're not ready to start your own company.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

Bethseda,you're a big rich company,this "Scrolls" game has nothing to do with your game,and you are in no way going to lose money over this.Why are you using such a dirty tactic? What have you got against Persson?

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

Bethseda is just being a jerk over this. They can't trademark the word "Scrolls" so that no one can use it in a game title. He's not taking their characters or ideas. He's just taking the word "scrolls" and making it a title. I don't care what anyone says,Bethseda simply can't OWN that word.

-Carge-
-Carge-

Bethesda need to pull their collective tampon out, and Mojang need to stop trying to trademark a word. problem solved?

dty_2010
dty_2010

Consequences: Everyone will hate you. Benefits: ?? Not sure Im following their train of thought on this decision.

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

I didn't like Minecraft, but it was impressive for a Indie Developer to make by himself.

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

I don't care who wins, I just wanna play their games. Minecraft was not that good (my opininon) but I do like The Elder Scrolls, because it takes a couple of years to finish the game with a good storyline and everything. Its more Fantasy realistic.

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

I Like Bethesda, it would be SO cool to work with them. I played Minecraft for 10 minutes and hated it, but still, why does a big company with heaps of money, Bethesda have to sue a Indie Dev that could of got loads of money from this game but has had no way of having money since the developing proccess of the game? He must of been limiting what he could buy since the development of it .

Laiska_pummi
Laiska_pummi

I like the games that Bethesda makes, but I don't really like this. And I don't like the whole Fallout Online mess either.

Supperdude9
Supperdude9

We the gamers stand behind you, Mojang! Take it to the legal corporate drones!

deathblow3
deathblow3

you know after reading the post i can't help but think about the sony bleemcast lawsuit. not to agree if it was right or wrong but the out come, as the company was undone simply by lawyers fees. i hope it doesn't come to that, i hate to think they are just doing a suit to drag a company under with legal fees. because they have not legal right to sue just take the smaller company under with fees

KungfuKitten
KungfuKitten

I don't even think they have a chance of winning. This is the main use of copyright today, a way of bigger companies to prevent competition from newcomers. You threaten a lot of newcomers by suing one, even if you don't win it. Still weird to see Bethesda do this. Maybe they have a legal department that doesn't really know anything about the gaming world. It's a very underhanded tactic, and they will lose.

carnivalshow
carnivalshow

I was drunk when i wrote that took it down guess i did not know the facts.

xXl_z3r0_lXx
xXl_z3r0_lXx

@carnivalshow minecraft is a game, not a company. No matter how good bethesda's games are, that was still a dirty move, saying that they own the word "scrolls"

shooters125
shooters125

@carnivalshow Are you mental or something? Bethesda (a great developer) is just being a poor sport. Mojang wanted to just settle this nice and easy without going to court, but Bethesda wants none of it. You're calling Mojang greedy when they are the ones who don't want to go to court. Biased fanboy much?

neros1x
neros1x

Bethesda, I love you, but you are way out of line here. @carnivalshow I don't much like Minecraft either, but Perrson is an independent developer who single-handedly built a game a lot of people like. For that he has my respect.

Lattata
Lattata

I am 100 percent behind Mojang in this. It's a prime example of Bigger guys bullying Indy companies. Guess they were jealous of Minecraft's Success?

carnivalshow
carnivalshow

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

carnivalshow
carnivalshow

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Gamesearcher
Gamesearcher

.... in the end, everyone will just want to play good games and enjoy themselves....

poopinpat
poopinpat

bethesda can't come up with a group of guys man enough to take on notch and crew in Quake 3 Arena??? It was such a reasonable request to end a pointless legal dispute....for shame! It would have gone a long way towards making developers look like decent people rather than corporate monsters.

MCPO_John_117
MCPO_John_117

I'm not upset with Bethesda over this, because it's not them, it's their greedy lawyers and the big business guys who own it. the developers probably have no say in this.

AvatarMan96
AvatarMan96

Screw Bethesda, they're going downhill fast. Trademarking one word is just stupid and greedy. Heck, Nintendo ought to trademark "Super". Or "Bros." I hope Pesson wins!

Atheno
Atheno

I'm not going to lie, I'm still going to buy Skyrim, I want to play that game so badly. Though I now look at Bethesda in a totally different light. I use to say, "Oh a Bethesda game, interesting." now it will be, "Hey remember that case they had?" before I even notice the name of the game.

oskuuu
oskuuu

no, im not gonna boycott any bethesda games, but this is a stupid and sh**ty move from them:evil:; i really hope they lose this and end up paying loads of money to notch ;)

AlexFili
AlexFili

Exactly. The worst example of this was when Avatar: The Last Airbender's film was renamed "The Last Airbender". Purely because "Avatar" was being used in another film. The two films are nothing alike and anyone who thinks "oh no, people might get confused" really needs to get a reality check. People are smarter than they look! Instead of this, why not attack mockbusters who rip off consumers by posing as a real product!

InspectorK
InspectorK

beth, like all company's are greedy, and will do anything they can to make more money, even if that means shutting down the small guy, its not about the name, but about killing off and sort of competition.

biggestnewb
biggestnewb

they're gonna get a bad rep from this... this could actually hurt bethesda, over something so petty. stupid move.

milesthewarrior
milesthewarrior

This is unreal. Look out super mario! You may be infringing on Super C's copyright!!

XboxGuy1537
XboxGuy1537

I'm shocked to see Bethesda doing this.....their not a company that does crap like this.

SolanOcard
SolanOcard

Oh, and don't mention anything about the serious problem of "elder abuse" because Bethesda might think you are infringing on their trademark.

-Six-Shooter-
-Six-Shooter-

 @Jkik2000 In a way, I did that too, I've spend that money (€50) on buying minecraft for a few friends, which didn't buy skyrim because minecraft was addicting enough! XD Oh and I downloaded Skyrim for my GF and me, and the game isn't that good-looking either (rock-textures wtf?)

-Six-Shooter-
-Six-Shooter-

 @Scorchstar lol, you experienced nothing of minecraft, by playing it 10 minutes.. you have never gave this game the chance to make it feel you satisfied with what you could have accomplished! I agree on bethesda lawyers being a bitch, but I would not want to work there, at all!