Minecraft dev wins interim injunction in Bethesda battle

Bethesda's parent Zenimax has the right to appeal, but the Minecraft firm can continue to use the Scrolls name in the interim.

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Minecraft developer Mojang today revealed it has been awarded an interim injunction in its legal dispute with Bethesda over use of the word "scrolls" as it relates to games.

Minecraft is still Mojang's best-known project.

Studio founder Marcus Persson, more commonly known as Notch, said via Twitter, "We won the interim injunction! We can keep using the name 'Scrolls.' Zenimax/Bethesda can still appeal the ruling, but I'm very happy." Persson added, "We never meant to infringe on anything Bethesda does, and this means we didn't." This ruling will allow Mojang to continue to use the Scrolls name while the court case runs its course, unless Bethesda successfully appeals the injunction.

The court case erupted in August when representatives of Zenimax contested that Mojang was infringing on a trademark of the Elder Scrolls series with its upcoming game, Scrolls. Persson suggested the parties settle the dispute with a game of Quake III. In another Twitter post today, Persson said, "No matter how this plays out, we should still do the Quake game."

Zenimax and Bethesda had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.

Discussion

165 comments
AlmityGuitarist
AlmityGuitarist

Shit I'm gonna TM my name and sue everybody else that happens to share my name.

TigusVidiks
TigusVidiks

@Orpheus_Evo yes, it's not like they are saints in this. They are defending their view point, which is Zenimax viewpoint. If they didn0t agree with it, they could simply ignore it and make it dificult for Zenimax to prsent a case. But I actually agree with thei stand on this issue, as much as this brings grief to others. In business terms, they have a valid claim. As if they will win it or not, it will depend to the courts.

Orpheus_Evo
Orpheus_Evo

@TigusVidiks "Bethesda" is just the name of A BRANCH of Zenimax. The latter is just an Über-Mega-Corporation that OWNS Bethesda (i.e. Bethesda=Zenimax). So, Bethesda isn't doing ANYTHING for its own anymore. They don't decide ANYTHING. Zenimax does. That's what I meant with my comment. It was in response to someone saying something like "don't blame bethesda, they're good. Zenimax are the bad ones"... Bleh! They're the same thing, you know!? P.S: I'm sorry for the delayed reply...been busy.

pogswarts
pogswarts

Why hasn't Activision/Blizzard sued them over the word "craft?"

BlackJakal
BlackJakal

this whole issue isn't fully explained, so many peoples comments make it seem like they think bethesda is being a dick, but it really could mean a huge cost to them in profit with merchandise etc

gameking5000
gameking5000

@SolidTy Is there a problem splurging money on cases that you are unlikely to win?

syam32245340
syam32245340

they should still do the Quake game :lol:

X-RS
X-RS

Problem is legal systems aren't that mouth watering...

ZeroX91
ZeroX91

Its good that Notch won, if Bethesda won it would set the single most idiotic precedent for a case in legal history.

d_ravenknight
d_ravenknight

@Freezezzy Actually, I still don't. I can't even begin to fathom what the powers-that-be at Bethesda that allowed this farce of a case to proceed were/are up to.

Freezezzy
Freezezzy

The funny part about this is that, had it not been for all the publicity this suit is generating, most average gamers (or people, for that matter) would probably never have even thought to associate the two.

KrizbyBoy
KrizbyBoy

Can someone tell me why I keep getting the paranormal activity ad on my screen then a severed page. I tried to make a forum post but the post button was severed off so please don't flame me.

Cwagmire21
Cwagmire21

Bethesda lost this just as Apple lost to Amazon over the use of "app store." You can't expect to copyright simple, everyday words.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Bethesda's lawyers obivously weren't (Mine)crafty enough to win this round. I truly hope and believe that Mojang will win the whole case. Anything else would be absurd, but this lawsuit was absurd to begin with, so who knows. I also hope this trial gets resolved quickly, because trials ain't cheap. Even if you win there are still costs involved that you have to put out for (lawyers and whatnot).

mrfidget
mrfidget

That would be scary if Bethesda won this.

andyslaker
andyslaker

No one(Bethesda,Mojang, anyone) will EVER have a TM on a SINGLE, EXISTING AND NORMAL WORD. What Mojang did was stupid(trying to register it), what Bethesda did was even more stupid(defending something that they don't own). No court in the world would accept Mojang's claim, as no court in the world will accept Bethesda's claim. So both can get over it and continue making games. If Mojang wants to register a TM with their game's title, they should pick a different title.

Raxyman
Raxyman

Now, Bethesda, stop screwing around with pointless disputes and TRY WORKING ON A FRIGGIN GAME! If you companies put all effort on making the game instead of prosecuting everybody i'm sure we would have much better games. But seriously, start like Activision and i'll never again buy a Bethesda game.

franzito
franzito

Yet another ugly gaming dispute...

germonicus
germonicus

So,what other words will companies try to copyright?I'd try for a really well loved and frequently used words such as screw,the,greedy,bastards! (They can have the ! for free though).

gladosrev2
gladosrev2

Bethesda still has a chance! Their lawyers can sue the world for infringing their copyright on the word 'The' in The Elder Scrolls"...

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

I'm a big fan of Bethesda because I love their recent big sandboxes, and still I say, shame on you (or your lawyers for that matter) for having to lose instead of realizing that it was stupid to claim the word your own. I already said I could see how the use of the Scrolls word seemed too convenient, but it's still not reason enough and IMO, you must not win this. EDIT: @giuse92 Wait, that article makes it look the exact oposite way, like Mojang is the side trying to take the word Scrolls for their own, use it in every media as theirs and sue anyone who uses it afterwards. This is odd. *sigh* I hope their are better informed in the courts than we are here and things don't end stupidly

fnman14
fnman14

@Plataea I do not think that Bethesda is going to win this case. I also do not think that Bethesda needs to win this case to benefit from it. Right now they only have trademark protection for 'digital media' under The Elder Scrolls trademark. Mojang filed to protect all sorts of things under "Scrolls" including digital media, movies, books, and merchandising to name a few. I think this inclusive trademark filing woke Bethesda up and they realized how un-inclusive their trademark is and decided to take this to court so that a ruling would better define "The Elder Scrolls'" trademark protections. After this is over, one way or another, Bethesda is going to have a more inclusive, better protected trademark. Unforturnatly, it will come at the cost of taking a lesser (less developed) game developer to court. If I were Bethesda, I would have used a better strategy to strengthen my trademark.

gameking5000
gameking5000

This surprised me. I sure hope Bethesda appeals because I don't agree with this ruling at all.

alpha_unit97
alpha_unit97

I sure hope Bethesda don't lose any popularity from this argument, their games are incredible and don't deserve to suffer from it..

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

I hate it when mum and dad fight :(

Vodoo
Vodoo

Bethesda is just being rediculous. I like when the little guy is able to successfully fight off the big corporation with lawyers on stand-by

GhoX
GhoX

Notch has been quite the jerk throughout the entire ordeal. Considering the size of the threat, I'm certain Zenimax will push the dispute all the way until Mojang is unwilling to compete in terms of legal expenses.

Wula_
Wula_

I think if bethesda looses for good and doesn't win a appeal. Notch should be super nice and still tell them the quake 3 offer is still open.

eternal_blade3
eternal_blade3

@giuse92 Well, I had not known this. Now that this new information has come to light, I will have to go back on what I've previously stated. All-in-all, I still don't think any company should 'own' a word and where its usage should be allowed--Bethesda AND Mojang, included.

Jettero-Heller
Jettero-Heller

Well done giuse92. Thanks for the URL. People should read the Kotaku article for some excellent insight on the subject. The fact is that Mojang is actually trying to do exactly what people are accusing Zeni of trying. Mojang is actually trying to copyright the word SCROLLS in every form. Radio. TV, Games, everything. If they were to actually win the trademark under the circumstances they outline it would actually grant them ownership of the word SCROLLS and leave Zenimax in a very actionable position potentially DESTROYING decades of hard work in creating the TES games. The comparison to Tim Langden (google him) is spot on and evidence that people & corporations attempt this kind of tomfoolery all the time. I am 100% behind Zenimax/Bethesda on this case and will be following it more closely now than ever. Those of you using the example of trying to copyright the word "THE" should be aware that this is precisely what Mojang is attempting with regards to "SCROLLS". The injunction simply allows Mojang to use the word. THAT"S IT!. They will NOT win this. Mr Notch will get destroyed by his own idiocy just like Langden and I for one can't wait to witness his pwnage over it.

IAm_PUFF_FearMe
IAm_PUFF_FearMe

I honestly have no idea what Bethesda was trying to accomplish with this whole thing, how in the holy hell could they possibly win this? its like trying to say you own the rights to the word "The" because they have "the elder scrolls" trademarked. Absolutely ridiculous, even if they had won, what would they accomplish? its not as if notch was actually attempting to infringe on the elder scrolls, the games aren't even remotely similar.

eternal_blade3
eternal_blade3

Much as I like Bethesda, that lawsuit was actually so ridiculous. I definitely lost some respect for them. "Sorry, Bethesda, but I see you have the word "the" in your game's title... We're gonna sue you now. Bye." Geez. But really: get a grip Bethesda. In a world where people have been around for so long, things are bound to be copied in some shape or form, regardless of one's intent.

smoke_dog_4ever
smoke_dog_4ever

@Plataea, good point that I don't think many people actually realize. If you perform "Happy Birthday" in a public setting, you can get sued for copy-write infringement. Who'd a thought, right? I'm of the personal opinion that common words, or heck, pretty much any single words, shouldn't be allowed to be copy written because, honestly, who has the right to say "I own the rights to use the word 'potato' and if you say it in any form, spoken or written, I will sue you." But.... that's the ridiculous and crazy world we live in.

servb0ts
servb0ts

Bethesda suing was just silly anyways lol. that like Nintendo trying to sue anyone using the word Super, or SE suing any word with Fantasy, or Konami suing anyone using Dance as title. lol

ZabuzaR
ZabuzaR

The legal lawsuit was not caused from Bethesda. It was caused from Zenimax.

Plataea
Plataea

@fnman14 First. I know this isn't about copyright. I mentioned copyright because it is a related concern of mine. It lasts too long. Did you know the song "Happy Birthday" is still copyright? Second. Thanks for your information regarding trademarks. As others have pointed out, the term Bethesda uses is not "Scrolls", it's "Elder Scrolls". When I hear just the word "scrolls", I don't think of Bethesda. I don't think any "reasonable" person would confuse the two. Third, in response to gutsallover and xXFr34k_0uTXx. The term "scroll" is fairly common. You may not have heard it simply because it is historical. Never heard of the "Dead Sea Scrolls", for example?

HaloPimp978
HaloPimp978

I love Bethseda, but this was just silly and embarrassing on their part.

RoseSpawn
RoseSpawn

I'm playing the devil's advocate a little bit, so bear with me. Zenimax got nervous because Mojang tried to trademark the word "Scrolls" itself, which could make things awkward in the future for Elder Scrolls products. Interestingly, the US Patent and Trademark Office denied Mojang's request for the trademark. And it was a Swedish court that ruled against the injunction from what I've read. And while I don't like that Zenimax doesn't think we, the audience, are informed and intelligent enough to distinguish between "Scrolls" and "Elder Scrolls," I understand what made them nervous: if they let Mojang get past without raising an objection, it could open the doors for more malicious pretenders in the future. In the end, I favour this resolution. I don't think Brad Pitt's gonna sue my friend Brad just so people don't mistakenly think it was him in Troy (or something) rather than Brad Pitt, which is basically what this boils down to; they just share half a name. We get the difference.

fnman14
fnman14

@Plataea It's going to come down to whether "Scrolls" is likely to be confused with "The Elder Scrolls" by 'a reasonable person.' How the court defines 'a reasonable person' changes from case to case. If trademark laws (copyright isn't involved here because Mojang is not trying to use any of Bethesda's game code) weren't restrictive, then other copanies would be confusing the consumer into buying products other than the ones they mean to purchase. Furthermore, coming up with a novel name for a product or brand is not detered by trademark law. Coming up with a name that is easily confused for a similar product by a 'reasonable person' is. In this case, if the court finds that a 'reasonable person' is a casual gamer that can easily confuse the two games, then Mojang will lose. If the court finds that a 'reasonable person' is an informed gamer that understands the difference, then Mojang will win. It's how the court defines the boundries. I believe that definition of the boundries is what Bathesda is going for, to strenghthen their claim on "The Elder Scrolls."

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

My cousin's name is "Beth" and her husbands name is "Max"... Last I heard they were suing the **** out of zenimax/bethesda... Lets hope my great-aunt Esda and her boyfriend Zeni don't hear about all this too XD

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

@littlejordan23 You agree with bethesda? Well with that type of thinking, maybe the NBA/Michael Jordan should sue you for unlicensed use of his last name and #23? - If he was using the whole "Elder Scrolls" title, I would agree. But these companies/corporations that are already making millions trying to claim they need to sue to recoup money is insane. Infringement is infringement, but you cannot, and will never own the rights to a word from a phrase. I can't believe people think this is okay. Next thing you know, zenimax will be trying to sue him because he used the word "the" in the title of a game. - I would call zenimax an insult that includes the word "rim", but christmas is coming, and I can't afford to hire a lawyer. ;)

Plataea
Plataea

@fnman14 I am not ignorant about this matter at all, thank you. You were right about freedom of speech, though - that is not the right term. However this is very definitely about freedom. I have long believed that copyright and trademark laws are too restrictive. To be able to make a claim a single dictionary word is dangerous, and hurts other companies' ability to come up with good titles.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

Bethesda is owned by Zenimax. Zenimax owns id Software. id made Quake, and have access to the best Quake players in the world. So yeah, maybe it's a more positive outcome then what could have been with a Quake match. Let's hope for no more stupid claims by Bethesda.

metalkitten
metalkitten

i dont have minecraft or anything they done, i do have some game from bethesda but i read several articles about this case and i really dont get how they are suing over "scrolls" makes me think very lil of them to be honest does all the big companies have a thing lately to sue smaller and make more money or have they hired more agressive /more stupid lawers?

fnman14
fnman14

@Plataea This isn't a matter of freedom of speech. It's a matter of private ownership of intillectual property. Way to show how little you know about the matter though....

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

I'm not a fan of Minecraft, but I'd side with Mojang on this one. Scrolls to Elder Scrolls is a bit of a stretch. That'd be like Squeenix suing for the name Fantasy or Quest based on their Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest franchises.

JoSilver
JoSilver

The take away from all this... +1 for common sense!

Superman1938
Superman1938

I don't see how Bethesda thought it would infringe on Elder Scrolls. I don't even think of that title when thinking of Morrowind or Skyrim. How cool would it have been if they had settled this over a game of quake!?