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Report article 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  (50 - 57 of 57)
PedobearNED Aug 7 2011, 9:04am says:

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...

+1 vote     reply to comment
Mr.Nuke Aug 7 2011, 2:03pm says:

stop suing people bethesda!

+1 vote     reply to comment
DrHojo123 Aug 7 2011, 2:59pm says:

It sounds more like the Lawers then Bethesda's fault =S hopefully it will get solved soon ether way i am still playing skyrim

+1 vote     reply to comment
majorD2 Aug 7 2011, 6:03pm says:

I wanna stand outside Bethseda studios and egg there ****. I'd grab a batch of frozen eggs and throw it at there window

+1 vote     reply to comment
eatleadsukka Aug 7 2011, 7:56pm says:

WRONG!!!! It's actually Zenimax that is suing Mojang, not Bethesda themselves.... get it right

0 votes     reply to comment
Slevo Aug 9 2011, 11:40pm says:

im very happy your getting sued u ripper don't take names from other games its obvious your taking elder scrolls title and changing it to scrolls you took blizards franchise name warcraft and starcraft and used minecraft now your taking elder scrolls and using scrolls geeze do you ever make anything your own. Now your taking stuff from Tellaria you really need your own imagination and stop taking other peoples idea's

grow a imagination....

-3 votes     reply to comment
Chieftain Aug 11 2011, 4:46pm replied:

Grow your own imagination but you post a comment.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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