Mojang and Bethesda Are Going to Court

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Its pretty funny because no matter what happens from here Mojang/Notch have already 'won' and Bethesda have already 'lost'.

Fantastic publicity for Mojang really - and add to that theres a damn good chance Mojang will win the court case too.

Damn, I really wanted to see that Quake 3 match. "NOTCH V.S. BETHSEDA: 3...2...1... FIGHT!"
Bethseda, I can think of so many other companies who would have jumped with glee at such a fun way of solving a problem, but nope, you're taking it to court.
And you're the company that freaking bought Id Software. That's just silly.

I don't really see how people could confuse Scrolls with the Elder Scrolls games considering most people simply refer to those games by their subtitles, such as Oblivion, Morrowind, and Skyrim. So really I don't think Bethesda is going to win this.

This isn't going to stop me from buying Skyrim though.

image

Fit to the twelfth power?? No! I didn't study!

You've already lost in the court of public opinion, Bethesda. Just drop the case all together. Besides, I doubt you can buy justice in Sweden like you can in America.

*gasp!* I can't tell which one is which! Help me before I buy the wrong game. *cries* Okay, this case is a waste of time and money and should be thrown out.

*sigh* Here we go again. Another news story about the "Bethesda vs Mojang" trademark dispute, and suddenly people get all worked up with "Anti-Bethesda" hysteria and saying they have no case without even bothering to research trademark law or, heaven forbid, the actual trademarks related to this dispute. And once more, people seem to be blindly latching on to the concept that Notch and crew are somehow victims in this whole mess. Now there's a lot more to this whole issue than the rather narrow-minded view that "Notch is right, Bethesda is wrong and being bullies" that a lot of people seem to have adopted of late. Like everything else in this world, this trademark dispute is hardly so black and white. Let's examine the facts of the issue in detail before passing judgement on either party.

First of all, the way trademark law works is once you register a trademark, you have to defend it against any and all threats or risk losing it (and this has been mentioned several times now). This doesn't mean that one company gets to use that trademark exclusively though. Different companies can hold the same trademark (well, the same trademarked word at least) for different products. For example, you're probably familiar with Id Software's trademark on "Rage", but this trademark can co-exist with other "Rage" trademarks like the "Rage" trademark on motor-scooters and another "Rage" trademark on pesticides (fun fact: there's over 30 different trademarks on the word "Rage"). You see trademark disputes when a company owns a trademark and another company tries to register a similar trademark for the same product type (in this case it's computer games). That by itself isn't necessarily enough to pursue trademark infringement (unless you're Tim Langdell), you also have to establish a case for similarity. With "The Elder Scrolls" and "Scrolls" the similarities should be apparent to anyone who has actually looked up the two games. They're both fantasy themed and they both appear to have RPG-like elements to them. That right there is enough to establish trademark infringement for most legal courts, so Bethesda does have a fairly decent case. And again, as stated at the start of this paragraph, if Bethesda didn't take any legal action to this threat to their trademark, it could cause them to lose "The Elder Scrolls" later on.

*Please note that when I say that "Scrolls" and "The Elder Scrolls" have notable similarities, I'm talking about the kind of similarities that will determine the outcome of the case in court. Obviously "Scrolls" and "The Elder Scrolls" are two very different games and have few actual gameplay similarities. As gamers, we all know that, but we're talking about trademark similarities with a court of law, not a court of gamers. Tim Langdell got away with his whole "Edge" trademark trolling with far less, he didn't even have an argument for similarities other than they were games.*

Furthermore, it's important to consider that trademark disputes are not rare, in fact, they're fairly common. Although it must be admitted that most trademark disputes are not revealed to the public (or gather much media attention), much less announced on Twitter. Besides the Tim Langdell cases and this one, how many trademark disputes has anyone actually heard about? Not many, I'd gather. What is rather unique about this case is that it's actually going to court, as usually the two parties in a trademark dispute settle matters outside of the courtroom.

And, if you're still having doubts about the legitimacy of Bethesda's case, here's a quote from a legal expert interviewed by Wired.com last month.

" Attorney and game industry analyst Mark Methenitis told Wired.com that the publisher was just doing what any prudent trademark holder would normally do.

"The basic question here is whether the two trademarks are likely to be confused," Methenitis said in an e-mail. "There's a pretty well-established test for this under U.S. trademark law, and based on those factors, Bethesda has a reasonable argument." "

Source: http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2011/08/minecraft-bethesda-lawsuit/

Finally, before you jump to take Notch's side in this issue, you should know the specifics of his "Scrolls" trademark. I took the liberty of looking it up on the Electronic Trademark Database and it's pretty surprising. It's not just a trademark on computer-games. Notch's trademark for the word "Scrolls" includes clothing (of all types, including t-shirts), hardware platforms, boardgames, toys, hand-helds, and traditional card games. This means that Bethesda's case against Mojang may not be the last court battle Notch will have to face over this, as his trademark clearly violates the trademarks of other companies (such as the Scrolls Clothing Company, which owns the trademark of "Scrolls" for t-shirts). The sheer broadness of Notch's "Scrolls" trademark is rather astounding, as most companies specify one thing for a trademark and make additional trademark registrations for additional products (for example, Bethesda has 6 separate trademarks on "The Elder Scrolls", covering everything from clothing to their forums, but each trademark covers only one thing). I imagine this is usually done in order to avoid large-scale trademark infringements.

Furthermore, just because you make a game doesn't mean you have to register a trademark for it! The vast majority of indie games DO NOT have trademarks! It's not a legal requirement in the slightest, and Notch could keep the name of his game as "Scrolls" if he dropped the trademark. Heck, I imagine there wouldn't be much of a legal issue if he had trademarked a full title like "Scrolls: The Card Game" or anything a little more complicated than just "Scrolls".

If you're interested in doing a bit of research on this subject, I encourage you to look up the trademarks that are involved. You can find Notch's trademark (and pretty much every other trademark ever registered) at this website: http://tess2.uspto.gov/

It has been pointed out before, but I'll do it again: Bethesda is doing this, not "the lawyers". Bethesda tells their lawyers what to do, not the other way around.

The lawyers would probably tell them this is horseshit if they felt they could without losing their client.

I have to admit, I completely forgot there was a title before Oblivion or Skyrim.

Stupid case is really stupid. What's with all the videogame companies trying to kill each other all of a sudden? Is it really necessary? Are they just bored and need some way to burn money?

Can't wait for someone to copyright the word "the".

I mean, it is a different name. Unless Bethesda has the rights to the name "Scrolls" specifically, then to hell with them.

This is kind of a waste of money right now.

Alandoril:
If I were a judge, I would throw this case (like so many others in our pants on head retarded, laughably litigious society) right out of court.

If I were a judge, I'd order them to have that Quake match at court in front of the jury.

EDIT:

RealDarkelfguy:

So, if I understand that right, at some point Squaresoft could have sued Capcom over the word "Final" that exists in trademarked games both companies possesses(Final Fantasy and Final Fight)?

All this makes me incredibly sad when I remember that video I saw of Notch and Todd Howard having a long gaming discussing at E3.

Paragon Fury:
Good for Bethesda.

I hope they get to see Mojang driven before them.

how is this good for Bethesda? theyre basically bullying the little guy. they dont even have a chance at winning (at least, they absolutely shouldnt). in case you didnt know, the whole reason Bethesda is suing Mojang is because Mojang has an upcoming product entitled "Scrolls". Bethesda believes they own the rights to the word "Scrolls", which is bullshit.

Mojang should counter-sue for the production time that is being lost in all this.

Ser Imp:
The case against Mojang's Scrolls is paper thin. Persson should counter sue Bethesda just for emotional distress and compensation for lost productivity due to these pointless court hearings.

"emotional distress"? Does "The Scrolls case is going to court! Weee! :D" sound like emotional distress to you? xD

Besides, its not like Mojang has a quota to meet or anything; if anything its Bethesda who has more to lose from this lawsuit.

"Hey, that minecraft game, right?"

"Yeah? What about it?"

"Those guys made a lot of money..."

"Call the legal department!"

"What?! Why?"

"We need a piece of that cash."

"Holy shit, your right! You know, it's the American thing to do!"

And then the legal department actually found something...

bethesdas legal team are kind of acting like bullies, if you ask me. picking on an indie developer? if youre a company as big as bethesda is worried about competing with an indie developer (albeit, an extremely successful one), that is just sad. besides, as total biscuit said, i cant think of anyone who refers to the elder scrolls series as, "scrolls." hell, i barely know anyone who knows it as the elder scrolls. i hope notch stands strong but since money = power, bethesda, sadly, will probably win

Thank you, Bethesda. Thank you for realizing that I'm a complete idiot that will confuse two totally seperate games whenever I type the word "scrolls" into the google search bar and rectifying the situation by suing the hell out of Mojang.

Anyway. I was never a Minecraft player, but I'm not blind to the gem that Mojang has created. And seriously Bethesda, Skyrim is going to sell so well that you will be able to make a solid gold statue of each and everyone of your employees; you don't need that much more money.

-Dragmire-:

So, if I understand that right, at some point Squaresoft could have sued Capcom over the word "Final" that exists in trademarked games both companies possesses(Final Fantasy and Final Fight)?

Actually, if you read it correctly you would find that it wouldn't be applicable because, although yes the name Final is in the title, neither game even contains similar elements. Final Fight is a side scrolling fighting game and nothing more, while Final Fantasy is always in a fantasy setting with 90% of the games being turn based making not even the genre similar nor sharing any themes.

OT: I'm actually not really standing behind Mojang on this one. Sure everyone immediatly jumps to his side thanks to Minecraft, but I can see a little where Bethesda has some ground. It depends on how much they wanted from Mojang if they did accept, if it was some insane number then I understand Notch not wanting to go with it. On the other hand, the only thing they are asking to change is the title of the game. Titles can easily be changed and have been in the past with no loss of recognition to fans.

You know what this reminds me of?

Tim Langdell, otherwise known that asshole who kept suing everyone if any of their games contained the word "Edge" In it.

Warner Brothers tried to sue the makers of a film called "Hari Puttar".

I hope Notch's countersuit involves a free collectors edition of Skyrim. Would be hilarious.

Notch vs. Tod Howard. Fistfight. Go!

But seriously, take it easy Bethesda. It's not a big fucking deal.

I'm not buying Skyrim. EVER. AND NO FALLOUT EITHER.
(This is partly because I'm not okay with Bethesda and I'm not okay with its first-person games.)

koga88:

-Dragmire-:

So, if I understand that right, at some point Squaresoft could have sued Capcom over the word "Final" that exists in trademarked games both companies possesses(Final Fantasy and Final Fight)?

Actually, if you read it correctly you would find that it wouldn't be applicable because, although yes the name Final is in the title, neither game even contains similar elements. Final Fight is a side scrolling fighting game and nothing more, while Final Fantasy is always in a fantasy setting with 90% of the games being turn based making not even the genre similar nor sharing any themes.

OT: I'm actually not really standing behind Mojang on this one. Sure everyone immediatly jumps to his side thanks to Minecraft, but I can see a little where Bethesda has some ground. It depends on how much they wanted from Mojang if they did accept, if it was some insane number then I understand Notch not wanting to go with it. On the other hand, the only thing they are asking to change is the title of the game. Titles can easily be changed and have been in the past with no loss of recognition to fans.

I've never played Minecraft or any of the Elder Scrolls games so I'm not basing my opinion on the quality or fandom of either side.

...yes, I didn't read it correctly and missed the "similar elements" part, I was focused on the conflicting trademarked name part. That being said does this description, from your experience with the Elder Scrolls series I assume you have, sound like an Elder Scrolls game?

I grabbed this from gamefaqs.

Scrolls is Mojang's next game and offers a new and unique game play where you fight to outmaneuver your opponent on the battlefield using the destructive powers in your collection of magical scrolls. Tear your opponent limb from limb with the might of your summoned armies, lay waste to the defenses with the obliterating power of your siege weapons or open up the very skies and let bolts of lightning shower his minions until only ash remains. The road to victory is yours to choose. Obtain the powerful scrolls and decide which ones you will take to battle as you fight to become the mightiest Magician of all.

I know next to nothing about the Elder Scrolls series so this description might look ironic if it turns out to be something people would readily call an Elder Scrolls game, not that it says much about the actual gameplay though.

I don't really care who wins nor am I trying to sway your opinion, I just don't like it when people sue for what I personally would call a stupid reason.

I would buy minecraft again if the mojang legal documents were written on old scrolls.

I have to wonder if Bethesda is willing to go to the expense of subpoenaing actual gamers who have tweeted and such about some vague confusing between Scrolls and Elder Scrolls. Short of any that actually posted personal info, the only route to be taken will be through ISP's and they aren't going to give info to a private corporation. Not counting conflict of interest, there is the liability to be concerned. There gonna be some pissed off ISP customers to look forward to, and not just those who get subpoenaed.
This is fail from the word 'go.' I honestly can't believe Bethesda is being this stupid. Sooner or later Zenimax(owner of Bethesda) is going to have to make their move. Hopefully it will be the smarter one to just drop it or talk things over with Mojang, as they should have in the first place.

Hmpf... this is making a huge dent in the reputation of Bethesda. I used to like them. Hell they were making good games for years and were friendly to gamers...

Now i have to think up plans on how to hurt them... FOR JUSTICE. Too bad.

henritje:
what about the Quake match?
seriously Bethesda! NOBODY calls it "The Elder Scrolls" they call it:
"Arena" , "Daggerfall" , "Morrowind" , "Oblivion" and "Skyrim"!
not TES 1-5!
just leave it it,s going to cost allot of money and you aren't winning anybody over with this!

I am in the minority. I do call the games "Elder Scrolls 3" for example. TES is their title. Morrowind is the subtitle.

Xman490:
I'm not buying Skyrim. EVER. AND NO FALLOUT EITHER.
(This is partly because I'm not okay with Bethesda and I'm not okay with its first-person games.)

To all people planning to not buy elder scrolls and boycot Bethesda: don't do it. As ridculous as this case is, games like Fallout and Skyrims are great games and boycotting games THAT ARE ACTUALLY GOOD (and therefore aren't money-squeezing piles of crap) isn't helping anyone. Besides, like people before me have said it's the Bethesda publisher who are being dicks, not the Bethesda game studio.

Hate the publisher, not the developer. ^_^

Andy Chalk:
According to Kaplan, Bethesda's lawyers plan to use user comments about Scrolls videos, articles about the game and even screen shots to prove that gamers are likely to confuse Scrolls with the Elder Scrolls franchise.

I don't know how the Swedish courts work, but it sounds like Bethesda is trying to argue that "a reasonable person" could be expected to confuse the two titles merely by inclusion of the same common English word in each.

If so, it's easily defeated by requiring Bethesda to prove that it obtained these confused statements from reasonable people. -:D

scrolls is too common a word to be copyrighted. Just like teriminator lost lawsuit agaisnt asylum for making a title called "the terminators" because it was ruled that word "terminator" cannot be copyrighted. this wont really go anywhere for bethesda. Well it wont unless Mojang really just pagiarized the game, i dont know since i havent played it.

People use your heads. Bethesda is not so much claiming a copyright on the word "Scrolls" as they are merely wondering why Mojang would just happen to announce a game with that incredibly generic name at the same time Bethesda is marketing the release of a new Elder Scrolls game. As am I.

Is Bethesda being pissy about it? yes.

Do the facts suggest that Mojang may well be doing exactly what they are being accused of? Also yes.

I for one hope that the courts rule a name change IS warranted for "Scrolls" but that no monetary compensation should be awarded.

This is so stupid. People don't refer to the new game as Elder Scrolls 5 they just say Skyrim. They won't get confused. Why is Bethesda being so petty? Even for a big company this is pathetic.

I like Bethesda too guys but if you know enough about law and how game companies work now you should realize that this is completely in Bethesda's hands and it isn't Zenimax's fault or Bethesda's/Zenimax's lawyers.

If you think this situation is silly then Bethesda and Mojang are the people to blame, you can't just use double standards and try to make excuses for game companies you like.

Paragon Fury:
Good for Bethesda.

I hope they get to see Mojang driven before them.

Stupid small game companies need to get what they deserve, Bethesda is such a better company so I hope Bethesda wins this game/fun battle and Mojang gets completely hammered. How dare they use the word 'scrolls' in their name, that is such an outrageous thing to do. BIGCORPS4LYFE

EDIT: Its funny to watch people on Youtube boycott Minecraft and Skyrim...

Radoh:
Okay first things first, Bethesda are kind of needed to do this to protect against future cases. It is simply the way this works, if you go back and watch that Escapist Podcast about this they explain it quite well.

Still though, it's too bad they denied Notch his Courtroom Deathmatch idea, that would have been really fun.

Captcha: Everybody iarinc. Quickly everyone, Iarinc!

This....A thousand times this! Im actually becoming sick of the whole "GRAWRRRRRR NOTCH IS BEING SUED BY BETHSOFT?? THEY'RE JUST ASSHOLES!" Its actually very simple....Bethsoft isn't suing. The legal Dept of Bethesda Softworks Inc. Is suing Mojang. Bethesda Softworks is NOT the game developer portion of Bethesda its merely the heads and Ceos who run the company such as the legal dept and whatnot. And if they dont sue then multiple other game devs could use more "elder scroll" Like names and Bethsoft could eventually lose the whole right to the name. so its understandable they'd atleast want to try and save the name rights

This lawduit is completley absurd. Imagine if Polyphony Digital and Rockstar went to court because Gran and Grand sound similar.

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