Bethesda hassles Minecraft studio over "Scrolls" game

By on August 5, 2011, 5:46 PM

Bethesda has threatened to sue Mojang, the folks behind Minecraft, for using the word "Scrolls" in the title of a new game. In a blog post today, Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson said he received a 15-page letter from a Swedish law firm demanding that he abandon the name Scrolls because it infringes on Bethesda's registered trademark, "The Elder Scrolls." Although it's news to us, Mojang has been aware of the threat for months.

Upon registering Minecraft as a trademark earlier this year, Mojang also applied for one pertaining to Scrolls. Sometime after filing that trademark, Bethesda's lawyers contacted the independent studio for more details about its new game. Bethesda feared that Scrolls conflicted with the existing trademark for their popular roleplaying games. Notch writes that he wasn't too concerned about the inquiry because Bethesda "didn't have much of a case."

Nonetheless, he attempted to strike a compromise with Bethesda to keep the peace: Mojang would use the word Scrolls in its future game titles, but never with words before it. The first game is expected to be called "Scrolls" all on its own, while expansions and sequels would be named something along the lines of "Scrolls - The Banana Expansion." Apparently, Betheseda wasn't humored by that suggestion as the company didn't bother to reply.

Although he surely isn't happy about the threat, Notch complimented Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series and said he still loves the company, noting that this is probably just "lawyers being lawyers." "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," the Minecraft creator writes. Bethesda has yet to release a public statement about the letter.

Alongside that sour news, Notch has announced that Minecraft sales are still going strong with three million copies sold. According to last month's stats, Minecraft had some 10 million registered users with 2.7 million paid copies in circulation, meaning 300,000 have been sold in the last 30 days -- not bad for a game that's still in beta. The game will launch on November 11, just ahead of the first annual "Minecon" event on November 18.




User Comments: 18

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Guest said:

Awh come on. Not you too Bethesda. Though, I sincerely hope it's just the lawyers that's trolling. I love The Elder Scrolls series. Kudos to Mojang for not using the entire ''The Elder''. That's kinda funny

wastedkill said:

WTF how pathetic do you have to be???? talk about complete retards working at Bethesda I mean come on "Scrolls" I don't see another game being called that so wtf is going on with these retards I would still keep going even If I got that letter mate just don't take any notice of those low IQ people

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Oh please, scrolls have a long and distinguished history in medieval history and RPGs. A company can't trademark <noun> Scrolls.

If Minecraft tried Aged Scrolls, or Old Scrolls, I could see it, but if you wanted to use Doom Scrolls or something, I don't see them having any sort of right to prevent you from using it.

wastedkill said:

gwailo247 said:

Oh please, scrolls have a long and distinguished history in medieval history and RPGs. A company can't trademark <noun> Scrolls.

If Minecraft tried Aged Scrolls, or Old Scrolls, I could see it, but if you wanted to use Doom Scrolls or something, I don't see them having any sort of right to prevent you from using it.

Exactly its like the maker of harry potter suing someone because they used "Harry" or "Pot" or even "Potter" as a single word for a game or book or film its just out right low IQ stupid! it requires a lot of retardedness thats all I can say

Guest said:

Square enix should sue any company than use Cloud storing. The pope should sue sony santa monica because of God of War.

Guest said:

oh know .. looks like Wizard of the Cost can now sue everyone that use Dungeon or Dragon in their games name .. they are going too be UBER rich..

Come on .. even if this is lawyers being lawyers .. .this is some BS!

I guess Bethesda cant just ruin their own games (skyrim) .. they have too ruin others to.

MrAnderson said:

First off they should not be granted an unconditional trademark to a single word unless it is made up. Scrolls is part of the english langauge and it is just wrong to give anyone ownership or exclusive rights over something already in our vocabulary... Where Bethesda feels threatened ... they should fight against it being granted not because they have a valid trademark... that a single word should not bother but it is not valid... Not Valid!!!! am I the only one that thinks it is not valid!!!! sorry did not read all comments yet... I just think tjhis is crazy!!

MrAnderson said:

Oh and what about the people behind Ninja Scrolls... or anything else with Scrolls in the title... is the Tradmark subcategory under gaming... oh boy this is crazy.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well probably that is why Notch said that they dont have much of a case =)

Go Notch!

Guest said:

Its sort of rediculous notch is right they have no case

MCJeeba said:

I'm halfway into development of my latest mattress sim. Really hope Serta doesn't sue me.

Guest said:

Sounds to me like the video there used the choral part from one of the songs composed for World of Warcraft but I don't hear Blizzard pitching a fit. It's time to sack up and quit all this politically-correct BS, especially over a single word to which no man has claim.

MrAnderson said:

Then I realized there are games using single names... like "Rage" and "Prey".... Oh yeah "Quake" and "Doom" but I guess they would argue that in context of the business... But if you have a title that incudes a word you should not by proxy own that word as a trademark. Otherwise everyone else can lay claim too. So Bethesda... (this is funny b/c id Software or Bethesda are the owners of the other one named properties I could think of...) if you did not get Scrolls and have a title of the name... I agree with everyone.... No Case! (I hope) Next thing you know they will own the word "Sky"...

treetops treetops said:

So if I made a game with every word in the title written very small to form letters my company would own the writes to those words?

Guest said:

Everyone needs to shut up.

I just copyrighted the English Dictionary.

I'll sue you al!!!!!

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Trademark laws need to updated so that they are relevant to the present situation.

Shigawire said:

Guest said:

Everyone needs to shut up.

I just copyrighted the English Dictionary.

I'll sue you al!!!!!

LOL.. yeah this is so retarded. They think they can copyright any ******* word in the english dictionary?

This intellectual property drive is getting out of hand sometimes. And this is another example of why people don't like lawyers very much. :P

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