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Mojang Wins Injunction In Bethesda  Scrolls  Case, Appeal 'Within Three Weeks'
Mojang Wins Injunction In Bethesda Scrolls Case, Appeal 'Within Three Weeks'
October 18, 2011 | By Mike Rose

October 18, 2011 | By Mike Rose
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    14 comments
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing



Minecraft developer Mojang revealed today that it has won an interim injunction against publisher Bethesda Softworks in the Scrolls trademark case, meaning the indie company can continue to use the Scrolls title for its upcoming game.

Developer Markus Persson said on his Twitter feed, "We won the interim injunction! We can keep using the name Scrolls. ZeniMax/Bethesda can still appeal the ruling, but I'm very happy."

Daniel Kaplan, Mojang business developer, added to Gamasutra, "We are very happy with the verdict."

He did, however, note that Bethesda can still appeal against the verdict. Kaplan told Gamasutra that the deadline for the appeal is "within three weeks."

Kaplan explained that Mojang's lawyers are currently writing an English summary of the Swedish injunction papers.

Mojang first revealed Scrolls, its second game, back in March as a digital card game / board game mash-up.

Bethesda Softworks later sent a letter to the developer accusing it of infringing on Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls trademark. A month later, it went ahead with the complaint, and filed an infringement claim.

[UPDATE: Kaplan has sent over an English summary of the injunction documents to Gamasutra. It reads:

"The Court in this decision starts by analyzing the goods at hand, finding first that there are significant differences between the games in The Elder Scrolls series and the game Scrolls, and that channels of distribution will be different (Scrolls will only be sold by Mojang on its websites mojang.com and scrolls.com)."

"Nevertheless, the Court finds that there are similarities as well - both games/series taking place in a fantasy setting, and that consumers appear to be somewhat overlapping, and that as a consequence, there is a relatively high degree of similarity of goods."

"The Court then goes on to discuss the consumers of these kinds of games. ZeniMax’s opinion is that it is the general public, which holds no particular awareness of differences between various titles and games."

"Mojang on the contrary, has argued that computer and video gamers constitute a well defined (albeit large) group which is very much aware of differences between various games and titles. The Court finds mostly with Mojang, agreeing that the relevant consumers are not the general public, and that their awareness is higher than normal."

"On similarity of The Elder Scrolls and Scrolls, the Court states that there is a certain degree of similarity. However, as Mojang has argued, scrolls feature frequently in titles and as content in fantasy settings, and in particular in fantasy games."

"The word 'scrolls' therefore is considered to be common and therefore less distinctive and as a consequence less important. The distinctiveness of The Elder Scrolls is therefore to a great extent considered dependent on use of the trademark as a whole, meaning that the risk of confusion with Scrolls is relatively low. The Court therefore, in its overall assessment, does not consider there to be shown probable grounds for trademark infringement."

"The decision can be appealed within three weeks. The Court of Appeal will then have to grant leave to appeal in order for the decision to be tried on appeal. Otherwise the main proceedings will continue. Such usually take over a year, and may take up to two years."

"The decision is very good for Mojang since the Court does not consider Scrolls to infringe The Elder Scrolls, even taking into account the relatively low requirement of probable grounds."]


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Comments


Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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Should've went for that Quake match? I guess this means we'll see a game named Elder in the future? Actually, maybe some dlc... Scrolls: Elder

Maurício Gomes
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Scrolls: Oblivion of the Elder

Scrolls: Elder at Morrowind

Scrolls: A dagger falls.

Prash Nelson-Smythe
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Elder IP Trolls?

Martain Chandler
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Yep. Should have gone for deathmatch! Think about it: they could have hired a ringer to stomp them. Whether they won or lost it would have been great publicity!



Like I've said before: they could have licensed the name to Mojang for $1. Yes, it is the best interest of a company to police their trademarks. No, they don't have to be assholes about it.

Dave Mark
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I still think that going for Scroll Edge would have been precious.

Jacek Wesolowski
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Falling Dagger: Oblivion of the Wind Elders



And while we're at it:

World of Crafty Star Devils

Massive Empires: the Jade Gate Effect

Magical Hero-Kings And Their Mighty Bounty

Fantastic Squares: the Final

Deus Ex Machina (a no-brainer, really)

Paul Szczepanek
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> Deus Ex Machina (a no-brainer, really)



Such a no-brainer that there already is a game called Deus Ex Machina Demonbane.



Before Bethesda came along there was Magnetic Scrolls, but back then no one thought they had the right to a dictionary word especially as it's part of a longer title. Does the title Call of Duty: Allied Assault preclude anyone from making an FPS with Assault in its name?



To be honest, it's just free publicity for Mojang's new project so I guess he really is the winner here whichever way the suit goes.

Jeremy Reaban
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Ever hear of Dungeon & Dragons? Big fantasy RPG, that basically spawned the whole genre?



Yet somehow it's okay for there to be games like Dragon Warrior, Draqon Age, etc, as well as a dungeon building game simply called Dungeons (which is literally half the name of D&D, will, minus the &)

August Junkala
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If there is a sequel to the game Scrolls, will the original be referred to as the elder Scrolls?

Maurício Gomes
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He will make a trilogy:



Elder Scrolls

Scrolls

Junior Scrolls

Joshua King
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Round one to common sense.

Luke Quinn
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Good news; Hopefully this will set the precedent for any more of these stupid trademark infringement cases.

Luckily I'll never have this trouble with my next game, Older Trolls: Tomorrow's Wind.

Ryan Wehnau
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A win-win for Mojang! The verdict is in- and it's good, plus this is great publicity for their second game. Rather bad publicity for Bethesda Softworks. As Markus said- "Just lawyers, being lawyers"

Andrew Egelhofer
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It's funny. When I was playing Morrowind, I never thought of it as Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, I always called it Morrowind. Same with Oblivion, which is how almost everyone refers to Bethesdas games anyways (Dagger Fall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim).


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