Proprietors of the Elder Scrolls series and current holders of the Fallout franchise, Bethesda Softworks have been developing video games since the mid-'80s. (and making the move to Rockwell, MD in 1990). Bethesda is currently renown both as a publisher and development house, and are owned by Zenimax Media, Inc. They are anticipating the release of Fallout 3 during 2008.

Post news Report RSS Bethesda are suing us, here’s the full story!

First of all, I love Bethesda. I assume this nonsense is partly just their lawyers being lawyers, and a result of trademark law being the way it is.

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A lot of people want more details about what is going on, so here is everything I know:

First of all, I love Bethesda. I assume this nonsense is partly just their lawyers being lawyers, and a result of trademark law being the way it is.

About half a year ago, our lawyers recommended us to register “Minecraft” as a trademark, so we did. I had voted against it initially, but we did it anyway. Better safe than sorry, and all that. At the same time, we also applied for “Scrolls”, the new game we're working on. We knew of no similarly named games, and we had even googled it to make sure. I'm not even sure if you CAN trademark individual words, like “Scrolls”, but we sent in the application anyway.

(Disclosure: We've enforced the trademark for Minecraft once, when there was a minecraft clone on iOS, using our name. People were emailing me saying our iOS version was buggy and bad, so we asked them to change the name of their game, and they did.)

A while later, out of the blue, we got contacted by Bethesda's lawyers. They wanted to know more about the “Scrolls” trademark we were applying for, and claimed it conflicted with their existing trademark “The Elder Scrolls”. 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.
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. We suggested a compromise where we'd agree to never put any words in front of “Scrolls”, and instead call sequels and other things something along the lines of “Scrolls - The Banana Expansion”. I'm not sure if they ever got back to us with a reply to this.

Today, I got a 15 page letter from some Swedish lawyer firm, saying they demand us to stop using the name Scrolls, that they will sue us (and have already paid the fee to the Swedish court), and that they demand a pile of money up front before the legal process has even started.

I assume this is all some more or less automated response to us applying for the trademark. I sincerely hope Bethesda isn't pulling a Tim Langdell.

(Development blog link)

Comments  (0 - 50 of 56)
Jake@War
Jake@War

Bethesda get over yourselves!!!
It would suck If the movie industry was this pedantic about titles! >.<

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Wonkehcheetah
Wonkehcheetah

The asylum would be dead in a heartbeat, which would be a good thing considering the crap they trick people into buying.

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Raphiell
Raphiell

I agree with jake, bethesda shoul just leave mojang alone

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Slevo
Slevo

go Bethesda take their money they are not using it usefully anyways

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Chieftain
Chieftain

Your a real ****. Do you know that.

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ShogunAssassin50
ShogunAssassin50

well... what are they doing with the money? they already have the equipment to continue adding things to the game and make other games... what are they doing with their money???

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Juffe
Juffe

I Love Bethesda too and really really hope this is some kind of lawyers thing... =(

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rex989
rex989

..so if is put a sentence or make a name with the word "scrolls" in it, i get sued? wow i never knew they owned the word scrolls

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TheMarshmallowBear
TheMarshmallowBear

I think they just need some friggin money or something.

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Captain-Arse
Captain-Arse

they need money to buy minecraft for all their staff xD

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Salsa_Shark
Salsa_Shark

Just put the word "Cinnamon" at the start of the title, problem solved.

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Dotdroid
Dotdroid

I wonder if someone made a game called 'Fall' or 'Out' would get sued aswell?

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Luke_Allstar
Luke_Allstar

Yeah i guess a lot of people confuse Fallout3 (the game) with Fall Out Boy (the band) .. or not

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P3ACE753
P3ACE753

I used to confuse Flatout (the racing game) with Fallout (the RPG) xD

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deathparadeNL
deathparadeNL

thats a little closer then scrolls and the elder scrolls

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Kedgeree
Kedgeree

Read Notch's twitter until you come across one that was re-tweeted by him from The Indie Stone (lemmy101's tweet).

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SirBrodzik832
SirBrodzik832

f*** u lawyers! D:

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Rhidgev
Rhidgev

Fail.

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TheNodCommander
TheNodCommander

Ugh... These sueing-things does get rather childish sometimes.

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Blue_Dust
Blue_Dust

Well,bethesda have just f**ked up because this is the most stupid reason to sue someone.So if we see a game having someone named Mike Dagoth the devs have to be sued,if we see valve put up the TES series on steam with a weekly off price we'll see bethesda sue,not smart!I don't care if their bloody skyrim game took all their budget,instead of sueing they can just ask notch for some help,not find a stupid reason to sue though!

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flyingtoaster
flyingtoaster

Sooner or later you'll see companies sueing eachother over using the word "The" in their product's title.

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cW#Ravenblood

But otherwise, what would Noth do, if he has a right on Minecraft and someone would call a mining game Mine 'n Craft?

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Anderan
Anderan

Considering calling something Mine n' Craft would more than likely intentionally be ripping off Minecraft. This whole thing with Bethesda would be more like Notch suing someone for calling a game Mine.

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Wonkehcheetah
Wonkehcheetah

I don't understand, why do people care so much about freaking names?

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TeH_n00b_GaMeR
TeH_n00b_GaMeR

Minecraft,Starcraft,Crimecraft,Warcraft,World of Warcraft...

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blubbfisch
blubbfisch

i would have never known that my scrollwheel is related to the elder scrolls... :<

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RainieRooth
RainieRooth

Fail

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GeneralKong
GeneralKong

the same thing happened between the guy who came up with made the stromtrooper costumes in star wars and Lucasarts, thing is, lucas actually agreed with letting the guy sell stormtrooper suits but Lucasarts lawyers wouldnt have it and started suing the guy, it might be the same case here, i heard mention somewhere that Todd Howard actually saying he was a fan of minecraft, so it could very well be the lawyers that started this

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rizom
rizom

This reminds me of the time that Facebook wanted to copyright the word "face". It's completely idiotic.

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Forking
Forking

They have a copyright on the word 'poke' too.

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Zealot671
Zealot671

how can you own a word like scrolls

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ArkaZeen
ArkaZeen

sucks

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xXMaNiAcXx
xXMaNiAcXx

Wow Bethesda just lost all of their respect with me, GTA style.

Really, what's the problem with you using one word? No one calls TES as "The Elder Scrolls". This is the forgotten part of the name. Everyone is like "Skyrim", "Oblivion" and so on. If I was Notch I would say this and would win, **** off Bethesda, we don't want you to mess with Notch.

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zacjor
zacjor

I think people are missing the point that this is *probably* just lawyers doing their thing...this happens often (lawyers making odd copyright threats) and it usually gets settled with no conflict.

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Cod_Fish
Cod_Fish

Could always change the name to "Lengthy single strip of paper on a stick"...

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Admiral-165
Admiral-165

I understand people are getting really butt-hurt about this (with Bethesda) like the maniac guy above me. But what you have to realize is that There is a difference between Bethesda and their lawyers, not to mention Bethesda is a company owned by a larger company. Bethesda developed the elder scrolls so technically they are the company which is suing, but in reality it's just the companies lawyers doing what they're paid to do.

Also i'll bet you anything if Todd Howard had control of this situation he would drop the charges in a second considering the fact that him and Notch are friends and they both like each other's games. Unfortunately the person who has the power to stop this is probably some guy we don't know and who doesn't give a **** (although i hope i'm wrong about that.)

Either way Notch said himself they have no case, and i'm positive if this did go to court Mojang would win...

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el-pepi
el-pepi

They should have said "Notch u r rich give us some moneis :<" instead of doing this...lol

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AHvash
AHvash

To be honest i just called the game Oblivion, i beat the whole game without knowing the prefix of "The elder scrolls". and i beat the heck out of that game.

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neronix17
neronix17

I've never hear of anyone refer to the series as "The Elder Scrolls" or "Scrolls", most of the time its either Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, or the "Sequel to..." or "Previous game of...".

Its a totally different name, so what if its one word from it, that's like saying The Bible has ownership of the word "The". If anything Bethesda's obviously retarded lawyers are making the company lose money and respect from a huge amount of people.

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CovertChaos
CovertChaos

Yes, but what the genral public calls it is irrelevant, because the "legal" name of the series is The Elder Scrolls.

Really, it's just a bunch of lawyer BS.

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n0way
n0way

They can't win this, even if they will decide to sue you. Its totally ********.

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sanderth
sanderth

What if I make a fansite about The Elder Scrolls, do I get sued because I use their name to?:D I like Bethesda games, but this is going to the way how Apple is sueing companys like Samsung.

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Noremakk
Noremakk

Fight back. You'll win.

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9heads
9heads

Bethesta money maker.

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mathinator
mathinator

i sue you notch... you used the world scrolls too many times... XD hey this is easy... really ridiculous suing companies for stupid reasons

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robofork
robofork

Any other day i'd choose Bethesda over Mojang without second thought, but Bethesda dun goofd bad this time.

I suppose they'll have to sue the guys who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, Games workshop for the Elder race in dawn of war and the inventor of Cinnamon scrolls too.

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Trooper-Larkin
Trooper-Larkin

Considering Games Workshop created the ELDAR (it has an A instead of an E) race more than ten years before Bethesda was even a company (Warhammer 40,000 has been around since the late '70s) I doubt they would win that as well.

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limst321
limst321

Most of you guys said 'a', I SUE U ALL!!

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LopperUK
LopperUK

How much $$$?

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deathparadeNL
deathparadeNL

i was already aware of this over twitter but anyhow this a little more in context so thanks

Bethesda i love there games (Fallout 3 biggest part)
but this is kinda stupid really i mean its not even close to the elder scrolls. i dont think i will confuse it really NOT!

edit: i'll sue ya i'll take all ya money!

this is just where that song is about...

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