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Bethesda, Mojang settle 'Scrolls' trademark lawsuit
Bethesda, Mojang settle 'Scrolls' trademark lawsuit
March 11, 2012 | By Kris Graft

Minecraft developer Mojang and The Elder Scrolls house Bethesda are now back on friendly terms, as the two companies have settled the lawsuit over the "Scrolls" trademark.

Mojang managing director Carl Manneh announced the settlement on the studio's blog on Friday. The agreement ends an eight-month tiff between the two high-profile, well-respected game developers.

In August last year, Mojang founder Markus "Notch" Persson said Bethesda's lawyers filed a lawsuit against Mojang over the studio's next game, titled Scrolls (artwork pictured), slated to release this year.

Bethesda accused Mojang of copyright infringement, and said consumers would confuse Mojang's tactical role-playing game Scrolls with Bethesda's November 2011 big-budget open world RPG, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, both of which had fantasy themes.

But the "Scrolls" conflict now appears to be over. "We have settled the lawsuit over Scrolls and Mojang and Bethesda are friends again," wrote Manneh. "To answer the big question -- yes Scrolls is still going to be called Scrolls.

"To answer the second question -- we aren’t going to keep the trademark. For us this was never about a trademark, but being able to use 'Scrolls' as the name of our game, which we can -- Yey."

Mojang told Gamasutra in September last year that the studio intended on fighting Bethesda over the trademark infringement accusation.

"It is really silly believing our game will be confused with their FPS-RPG with realistic graphics," he said at the time. "They have dumped everything [into the lawsuit that] they could find about Scrolls. ... We are going to do as much as we can, since I really hate it how the big boys always get their own way."

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William Johnson
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I'm sure the lawyers are happy at the least. Trademarks are a funny little subset of the law. Unlike patents and copyright it does not expire. Though it is arguable that copyright does not expire in its current form.

But in order for companies to claim their ownership of trademarks, they do have to enforce it. Or else the trademark maybe considered generic, thus anyone can use it. Like wise, if they didn't settle out of court (which I am assuming they did) they run the risk of having the courts deem a single noun as too generic, thus Bethesda would have lost the trademark anyway.

Bethesda was at the proverbial rock and a hard place. But I assume they're very happy with the outcome.

Evan Combs
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They wouldn't have lost the trademark if they lost the suit, which they would have, they just wouldn't have been able to claim that any game that uses the word "Scrolls" without "Elders" in front of it is infringing. Which they should not be able to do at all anyways. The fact is Bethesda never had a trademark on "Scrolls" they have only ever had a trademark on "Elder Scrolls".

Mark Harris
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And they were defending the "Elder Scrolls" trademark against a potential "Scrolls" trademark, which could be used against them in the future.

Damn those evil people thinking ahead and following established procedure to defend their trademarks.

Laurence Nairne
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More or less the same as Apple trying to trademark "i".

E Zachary Knight
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It really is a shame that this did not go all the way to court. I am a huge fan of creating legal precedent for issues like this. We really need to reel in the abuse going on in the trademark arena.

Mark Harris
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The abuse of actively defending your trademarks so that they don't fall into the public domain... as prescribed by law?

This is not another "Edge" fiasco, it is a mundane trademark defense case, which ended up in an agreeable settlement for all involved.

raigan burns
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Yeah, this is pretty disappointing, it would be nice to have something established so that it doesn't happen later on to someone less able to defend themselves.

Mark Harris
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Ye olde standard trademark defense case, and somehow we find a way to make it a David vs. Goliath epic.

Iwan Gabovitch
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Please fix the blog post. Copyright has nothing to do with trademark.