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.
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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