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Mojang Offered Up Scrolls Trademark, Bethsoft Said "No"

| 4 Oct 2011 15:20
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Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson claims Bethesda declined his offer to modify the Scrolls name and give up the trademark, so he's not sure exactly why his company is being sued.

Bethesda v. Mojang hasn't even pulled into the courthouse parking lot yet, but to much of the public the narrative is already written: big, money-sucking corporation with a bored legal department drops the lawsuit hammer on the little guy, who has to roll over and take it because it's just too damned expensive to fight for what's right. It's a solid David-and-Goliath tale for the gamer set, with the one fly in the ointment being that it might not be entirely accurate.

As Kotaku noted yesterday, Bethesda's parent company Zenimax Media might just have a good reason for putting its 'kickers on. Mojang's trademark application on "Scrolls" is incredibly broad and could potentially put the company in a position to bring legal action against Zenimax/Bethesda over its use of the name in future Elder Scrolls titles. Perhaps an unlikely scenario; perhaps not.

But in response to that report, Notch claimed on his blog that he'd already tried to soothe any such fears Bethesda might have. "We realized we should apply for the trademark 'Minecraft' to protect our brand. When doing so, we also sent in an application for 'Scrolls'," he wrote. "When Bethesda contacted us, we offered both to change the name to 'Scrolls: [some subtitle]' and to give up the trademark."

"They refused on both counts," he continued. "Whatever reason they have for suing us, it's not a fear of us having a trademark on the world 'Scrolls,' as we've offered to give that up."

The mystery deepens! Or maybe not. A Pabst and a fist-pound might be enough to seal the deal out on the streets but courts have somewhat more stringent requirements when it comes to determining who controls what. Mojang may very well have offered, in all sincerity, to walk away from the "Scrolls" trademark but from Bethesda's perspective, that simply may not have been good enough.

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