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 content RSS feed 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.

Posted by Kizzycocoa on Aug 5th, 2011

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)

Post comment Comments  (0 - 50 of 57)
Jake@War Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+15 votes     reply to comment
Wonkehcheetah Aug 6 2011 replied:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
Raphiell Aug 6 2011 replied:

I agree with jake, bethesda shoul just leave mojang alone

+1 vote     reply to comment
Slevo Aug 9 2011 replied:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
Chieftain Aug 11 2011 replied:

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

-1 votes     reply to comment
ShogunAssassin50 Aug 19 2011 replied:

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???

+2 votes     reply to comment
Juffe Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+18 votes     reply to comment
rex989 Aug 6 2011 says: 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

+22 votes     reply to comment
TheMarshmallowBear Aug 6 2011 says:

I think they just need some friggin money or something.

+7 votes     reply to comment
Captain-Arse Aug 7 2011 replied:

they need money to buy minecraft for all their staff xD

+1 vote     reply to comment
Salsa_Shark Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+14 votes     reply to comment
Dotdroid Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+9 votes     reply to comment
Luke_Allstar Aug 6 2011 replied:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
P3ACE753 Aug 6 2011 replied:

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

+3 votes     reply to comment
deathparadeNL Aug 7 2011 replied:

thats a little closer then scrolls and the elder scrolls

+1 vote     reply to comment
Kedgeree Aug 8 2011 replied:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
SirBrodzik832 Aug 6 2011 says:

f*** u lawyers! D:

+13 votes     reply to comment
Rhidgev Aug 6 2011 says:


+8 votes     reply to comment
TheNodCommander Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+19 votes     reply to comment
Blue_Dust Aug 6 2011 says:

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!

+1 vote     reply to comment
flyingtoaster Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+18 votes     reply to comment
cW#Ravenblood Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+2 votes     reply to comment
Anderan Aug 9 2011 replied:

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.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Wonkehcheetah Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+2 votes     reply to comment
TeH_n00b_GaMeR Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+14 votes     reply to comment
that_guy72 Aug 6 2011 says:

just 1 thing he said the game elder scrolls had nothing to do with scrolls BUT the scrolls are part of the game, in one of the thieves guild quest u steal one of the elder scrolls, and i think they may have come up in the earlier games but im not to sure because ive only played 3 and 4. but still this is a stupid case and Bethesda should get over there selves.

+1 vote     reply to comment
blubbfisch Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+6 votes     reply to comment
RainieRooth Aug 6 2011 says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
GeneralKong Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+4 votes     reply to comment
rizom Aug 6 2011 replied:

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

+5 votes     reply to comment
Forking Aug 6 2011 replied:

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

+4 votes     reply to comment
Zealot671 Aug 6 2011 says:

how can you own a word like scrolls

+2 votes     reply to comment
ArkaZeen Aug 6 2011 says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
xXMaNiAcXx Aug 6 2011 says:

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.

+2 votes     reply to comment
zacjor Aug 6 2011 says:

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.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Cod_Fish Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+5 votes     reply to comment
Admiral-165 Aug 6 2011 says:

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...

+5 votes     reply to comment
el-pepi Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+2 votes     reply to comment
AHvash Aug 6 2011 says:

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.

0 votes     reply to comment
neronix17 Aug 6 2011 says:

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.

+4 votes     reply to comment
CovertChaos Aug 6 2011 replied:

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.

+2 votes     reply to comment
n0way Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+2 votes     reply to comment
sanderth Aug 6 2011 says:

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.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Noremakk Aug 6 2011 says:

Fight back. You'll win.

+3 votes     reply to comment
9heads Aug 6 2011 says:

Bethesta money maker.

-2 votes     reply to comment
mathinator Aug 6 2011 says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
robofork Aug 7 2011 says:

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.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Trooper-Larkin Aug 21 2011 replied:

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.

+1 vote     reply to comment
limst321 Aug 7 2011 says:

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

+2 votes     reply to comment
LopperUK Aug 7 2011 says:

How much $$$?

+1 vote     reply to comment
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