Mojang Sticking with 'Scrolls' Name Despite Bethesda Legal Threats

August 29, 2011 -

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson spent the weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle showing off new features in the latest Minecraft update (1.8) and the first official trailer for its upcoming game Scrolls. While there, he answered some questions about his pending lawsuit with Bethesda over the Scrolls game name. Bethesda alleges that the name "Scrolls" infringes on their trademark for "The Elder Scrolls."

When asked if he had any back-up names for Scrolls in the event that he lost the legal fight with Bethesda, Persson joked:

"Someone suggested 'Rolled Up Parchments'... [Laughter]. No, we don't have any back-up names. And we won't even consider back-up names for now."

Persson also revealed new details about Scrolls, a trading card game that will be released on multiple platforms, and will be playable via the web.

When asked how much it costs, Persson said that they don't plan on charging a lot of money because they "want it to keep it as cheap as possible." You can watch the whole Q&A session here:

You can check out the trailer for Scrolls from PAX to your left.


Comments

Re: Mojang Sticking with 'Scrolls' Name Despite Bethesda ...

Well, after the makers of Minesweeper failed to sue them for MINEcraft, they probably realized they had this one in under control. 

I wonder what would have happened if Gene Roddenberry had tried to sue George Lucas over trademark infringement...

Re: Mojang Sticking with 'Scrolls' Name Despite Bethesda ...

Glad he is sticking to his guns on this one...but I still want to see a Quake match.  Would treat it like a sporting event and get people together if they would show it on TV or just stream it online.

This does go a long way in pointing out the issues we have with our copyright system.  I have talked to some people about it that have taken the extreme and are denouncing Bethesda as evil for stomping on a smaller company (their description, not mine) in regards to the "Scrolls" suit.  I explained how (and if I am mistaken, feel free to correct me please) if something is potentially infringing on a companies existing copyright, they are bound to have some legal action in regards to it, otherwise they risk losing the ability to hold this copyright.  So even something as small and pointless as this one is, if they ignore the issue, it could be brought up in future cases when someone really is trying to breach their copyright as proof.  I honestly don't think Bethesda sees this game as a threat to them and seriously doubt they would really want to "get rid of competition" in this way, but legally they are bound to do SOMETHING.  

Hopefully something is worked out because I do agree that trying to do this over the use of a single word for a game of a different type is incredibly weak...regardless of copyright law.

Zen aka Jeremy Powers
Editor and Host of the Zenspath Podcast (now on iTunes)
www.ZensPath.com
XBL: "PsychoticZen" PSN: "Zenspath"
Nintendo Network: "Psychoticzen", 3DS: "3024-7965-4819

Re: Mojang Sticking with 'Scrolls' Name Despite Bethesda ...

Trademark, but yeah, you have the right basic idea.  If you do not defend your trademark you loose it, even if that defense is a token lawsuit with the result of saying 'ok, you have an unlimited license to use our trademark in this way'

My big worry about stories like this is they can give people a negative view of trademarks and might steer small studios away from using them properly, which would remove a very valuable tool from their belts under some misguided 'trademarks are for bad guys' idea.

Re: Mojang Sticking with 'Scrolls' Name Despite Bethesda ...

I think it less stories like this, and more stories like that of Tim Langdell that gives trademark a bad taste in the minds of the public.

This is a story of a game company, Bethesda, with an actual game in the market, several in fact, that use the word "scrolls" as part of their trademark. Regardless of Mojang's game using only the single word "scrolls" in his game's name. While an informed consumer would not confuse the two, trademark law uses the "moron in a hurry" test to determine possible confusion.

In the Langdell case, you had a guy who flat out lied about his use of the "Edge" mark to sue companies for a quick buck.

Big difference with the second being more damaging.

Re: Mojang Sticking with 'Scrolls' Name Despite Bethesda ...

I completely agree that the Langdell case does a lot more damage,.. but I do not think this one is completely without risk.

Re: Mojang Sticking with 'Scrolls' Name Despite Bethesda ...

It's early...guess I mixed up words lol.  Appreciate it regardless.

And good point about the negative view for the trademarks being an issue.  People do tend to jump straight into a negative stance on things they may not have a full understanding about, even if it is right in regards to the law.  I'm sure a license will be given once they feel they have "protested enough".

Zen aka Jeremy Powers
Editor and Host of the Zenspath Podcast (now on iTunes)
www.ZensPath.com
XBL: "PsychoticZen" PSN: "Zenspath"
Nintendo Network: "Psychoticzen", 3DS: "3024-7965-4819

 
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