Minecraft studio target of legal action from Bethesda

As indie hit surpasses 3 million sold, Notch says lawyers with Elder Scrolls publisher upset over Mojang trademark filing for its Minecraft follow-up Scrolls.

There's no denying that Minecraft studio Mojang is big time. According to the indie developer's official site, its downloadable hit Minecraft has just surpassed 3 million copies sold, and according to the game's creator Markus "Notch" Persson, the studio has its first big legal dustup on its hands as well.

Not to be confused with Skyrim.

In a post on his personal blog, Persson said he had been contacted by Bethesda Softworks lawyers upset over a Mojang trademark filing for its next game, Scrolls. According to Persson, the lawyers believed that filing infringed on their own trademark for The Elder Scrolls games.

"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 of Bethesda's franchise. "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 said he suggested a compromise that would have Mojang never placing words of any sort before its own Scrolls game for sequels or spin-offs, but he was unsure if Bethesda replied to that suggestion at all.

While the exchange with Bethesda's lawyers began roughly six months ago, Persson said today he received a letter from a Swedish law firm demanding Mojang stop using the Scrolls name, as well as "a pile of money up front before the legal process has even started." While it's not clear if the actual lawsuit has been filed, Persson said the letter claims Bethesda has already paid the court fees to begin the process.

Persson called the situation "nonsense," but he stressed that he is a fan of Bethesda's, and assumes the situation is "partly just their lawyers being lawyers, and a result of trademark law being the way it is."

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

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355 comments
TheToxicFlame01
TheToxicFlame01

This is completely stupid. Having the right to own words in your game is completely stupid. You don't see blizzard suing mojang because they have the word "craft" in it do you? you don't see WB suing Disney because of there common anthropomorphised comedic characters. I like Bethseda's games and all that, but this is just so stupid. They are acting like children. They need to sac up and stop all this crying over something so stupid. Yes, their new games involve magical scrolls. so do a lot of games, and other games don't have a little sook whenever another game has magical scrolls in it. Bethseda, if you can see this post.. this forum, than you can clearly see that everyone is starting to look down on you... you are a spoiled winey child in the face of gaming companies, and a are slowly turning into a sham in the face of gamers.... if you proceed with this stupidity, i can assure you, you WILL suffer the consequence of it....

RGSTRDSXOFNDR
RGSTRDSXOFNDR

@pierrey22: Sorry, lost track of this thread. Looks like this has blown over, as so many things do. On the bright side - happy new year!

yxw
yxw

Well I hope Mojang is thanking Bethesda for the free advertising . Until today I had never heard of Scrolls . But after reading up on it ( Thanks to Hezzyxjb ) I am actually very interested now . As for the lawsuit ..... Dumb like most corperate lawsuits .

HezzyxJB
HezzyxJB

This is his way of getting out of court costs. Mojang can't afford this and it will be a huge blunder if they try to battle this in court. Its amusing; all of the idiots commenting who don't understand the legal issues. Have you actually seen the game? http://www.scrolls.com/

Maxx_the_Slash
Maxx_the_Slash

@ hexecc: You're allowed to say the names of games, stupid. The issue is making a game named similarly to a series of games that already exists. Scrolls is one of the short-hand named used to refer to The Elder Scrolls, and it'll cause confusion if Notch names his new game Scrolls.

hexecc
hexecc

Scrolls... oh i said it! now they're gonna sue me! omg!

goku33339
goku33339

"The implication that you could own the right to all individual words within a trademark is also a bit scary." Oh man, Notch is so awesome.

cshourihan
cshourihan

Does that mean Bethesda owns the word "elder" and the word "the" too?

Magic_Panda92
Magic_Panda92

I still hold Bethesda in high regard but this is ridiculous....when will developers grow up.

madmenno
madmenno

I believe scrolls is a game where you summon armies with scrolls. In TeS you can only summon one. And further on the games are very different. So since pretty mutch every word is used by atleast one game developers are pretty much down to picking random letters? Untill now i had Bethesda pretty high, but this made me think very awkward of them. How is Scrolls ever going to damage Bethesda. btw, i'm pretty sure theres somewhere a old game with the word scroll or elder in it, i hope Bethesda soon gets has to give all there profit over the series to some old guy who programmed a couple of games back in the 90's.

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

Omm, I meant pull the leashes of the lawers, and with their point only meant that using the word "scrolls" is quite convenient, nothing more. I'm with the minecraft guys with this, it's only one word in the end

ibeatu85x
ibeatu85x

Bethesda is really starting to piss me off.

volney81
volney81

And yet another legal battle from Bethesda. I guess the Interplay Fallout quagmire wasn't enough. Maybe they feel left out because they aren't on the 'Most Hated Game Pulisher' list.

RGSTRDSXOFNDR
RGSTRDSXOFNDR

@Darkelfguy How can gamers pressure studios to "play nice" with their copyrights, short of an all-out boycott? The best way I can figure is MASS mailing, as in writing physical (snail mail) letters to them until they take the hint.

heroesfan261
heroesfan261

@dude976 not if mojang opts for the out of court settlement Bethesda is offering. I don't know why bethesda did this because i don't see any feasible reason by they would think they could possibly win this case.

Cab00seZ77
Cab00seZ77

@daeknro This isn't madness, THIS IS SPARTAAAA!!!! (Sorry I had to do that xD)

daeknro
daeknro

this is madness,Bethesda !!

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

@jadaski1 by the looks of the comments here it would seem that it is doing bethesda no good whatsoever...but i doubt they would try to pull off dirty advertising tricks like that, after all it is very risky and bethesda has a very good reputation to uphold...they are not stupid or nasty people, i dont think everyone should overreact like this...besides only a few people will be involved in the lawsuit(its probably just being pushed by bethesda's lawyers), it doesn't represent the views of the whole company.

jadaski1
jadaski1

Minecraft has a fairly sizable playerbase. I wouldn't be surprised if Bethesda engineered the creation of this lawsuit in order to gain exposure amongst the Minecraft community. While this is completely negative exposure, Bethesda may have thought that the free advertising from the lawsuit would outweigh the drawbacks. I'll be really pissed if this is true, and Bethesda actually benefits from it.

cbb1018
cbb1018

Bethesda i love all of your games but this is just too far man

MW2ismygame
MW2ismygame

bethesda please take this from a loyal fan *clears throat* DONT TURN INTO EA

vadagar1
vadagar1

hmmmm they should also sue the inventor of the English language for using English which is the Bethesda official language yah BUT Tolkien should rise from his grave and demand payment for Bethesda's use of words like elves, goblins, orcs, and pretty much everything in their games

vallan2
vallan2

They might own the phrase, but you can't copyright a single word, especially a noun, but based on their logic, I'll see if I can trademark the word "I", then everyone will have to pay royalties. Bethesda, just being *rseh*les.

m4rkoca
m4rkoca

Bethesda are a bunch of finger pointing pansies.

kaem79
kaem79

@TheNatureFreak I agree. Still bad that Bethesda is doing this. Bethesda doesn't own any words at all, but the words together only.

TheNatureFreak
TheNatureFreak

greedy bethesda lawyers or no, I'm gonna buy Skyrim anyway. there's a lot of greed out there, and there's a lot of great games. I think its kinda silly if bethesda's childish fight prevents you from buying the game the developers worked really hard on and put a lot of passion into. hey, and if this "Scrolls" is a good game then I'm buying that too. the lawyers can do their thing, and I'm gonna do mine. gonna shrug this off and still get pumped about the holiday season and the video games it will crank out!

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

If Bethesda wins this case, I'm gonna sue the sky for being blue...

dude976
dude976

@heroesfan261 What? If Bethesda lost, and they rightfully should, Mojang would probably be able sue them right back, and they'd look like a money hungry monster. If Bethesda wins, Mojang is *successfully* sued for lots of money, and Bethesda looks like a money hungry monster. Either way, BOTH companies still lose, Bethesda for their reputation, Mojang because win or lose, they still have to pay their own lawyers.

BLISKINfinland
BLISKINfinland

Bethesda is at it again lol Bonk: Brink of Extinction had the word "Brink" in the middle and it got cancelled mysteriously :D or because of a tsunami.

heroesfan261
heroesfan261

Why the hell would bethesda do this? It's clear that either they lose and look like a money-hungry monster defeated by the righteous tiny indie company, or mojang just gets tons of money with the only downside being that the name for their next game is changed. it's kind of a win-win situation for mojang.

Jynxy425
Jynxy425

WOW, a multi-billion dollar company like Bethesda suing a possible up and coming indie company like Mojang. Has anyone heard the story of David and Goliath ???? I'd call this corporate greed at it's finest !!! Great job Bethesda ... I'd be ashamed and a little embarrassed working for Bethesda at the moment.

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

@eyerok yes but i think we should at-least wait to see what happens before judging them. after all they may just drop the lawsuit or come to a compromise with Mojang, we should see what they decide to do before getting angry about it.

mer1in79
mer1in79

Next they will be suing Rockstar for using the roman numerals V for GTA5 or any game with a sequel that has numbers Christ i'm not a lawyer but even i know there's Bob Hope chance of them actually winning but whether or not it actually goes to court or not the Lawyers will still be paid.

dab0ne
dab0ne

How incredibly ludicrous!! I canceled my pre-order of Skyrim and if this actually goes to trial I will buy my copy of Skyrim used! We have a single indie developer trying to make it and a bunch of jealous fu@#ers can't handle someone else having a little success. As if anyone on the planet is gonna confuse this game as an elder scrolls game!! I know it's not the developer's fault directly but indirectly it is. They need to hire new lawyers!!

mer1in79
mer1in79

Despite how much i love Bethesda and the Elder Scrolls series i find it a bit pathetic that they are trying to sue someone just for using the word scrolls(although it more likely the lawers after a quick buck rather than the develpers) what next suing for using the word "The" if Bethesda won the case which i very much doubt it would open up Pandora's Box and it would be nigh on impossible to put the lid back on.

Lach0121
Lach0121

This is not legal anyway! In no way does Bethesda actually have a case! You cannot keep someone from using a (single) word that appears in your trademark Title that actually has atleast 3 words in it. Does Supreme Commander get sued from the Command and Conquer? Does Empire Earth get sued from Age of Empires? Does Company of Heroes get sued by Heroes of Might and Magic? NO this case has no validity! It is a case of Corporate greed! (Not necessarily on the Devs at Bethesda, but for damn sure on their lawyers' part) It is pretty scary when you can sue for a single word, out of several, that appear in a trademark title. Matter of fact, by their very same logic The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion should have to face legal consequences from the lawyers, of the makers of Turok: Shadows of Oblivion. This case has no merit, and is just a grasp at monetary profit, and a flex of muscle of abusive/ and out right overestimated power! The thumbs down I received for this comment must of been left by a big Bethesda fanboy, lol funny, in a sad kind of way. Even though this is happening, I will still more than likely get Skyrim, I enjoy TES games. Skyrim is one of the only Mid-evil Fantasy themed games I am interested in.

daniellau2608
daniellau2608

Pretty dumb lawyers.....They should just sue every small game company there is if they really want the money...After this, I'm having doubts buying the next Oblivion...

ducusss
ducusss

@Mega_Skrull What point? That's about the same as blizzard suing someone for making a game called "world", that's dumb.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

I don't get it... Oblivion is a pretty successful franchise, they don't need the money, so why pick on the little guy? I'll bet Bethesda's lawyers literally wake up every morning looking for small independent developers to extort for an easy case...

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

Mm I think the lawyers have a little point, but it's very little. In the end it's only one word and they shouldn't be able to go any further with this. The best Bethesda can do about this is pull their leashes and not allow this to continue IMO.

eyerok
eyerok

@GamerLegend10 - but they're almost on the verge of suing from what it sounds, or at least that's what their lawyers behavior says. Well you know what i mean right, bethesda is taking their "legal battles" too seriously.

Owtlaw1337
Owtlaw1337

how would they like it if sega sued them for using "RAGE" claiming it infringes on their streets of rage franchise lol.

superveka
superveka

how about ,that guy who made minecraft sues all companies who uses word mine in there titles

superveka
superveka

so what now blizzard are going to sue them for having a word craft like in world of Warcraft is complete nonsense

sushihammer
sushihammer

mmmm... minecraft fanboys to the defense...

IZZO71
IZZO71

hahaha woooow! pu$$y a$$ terrible new vegas making female dogs!!!!!!