Bethesda: “Nobody here enjoys” pursuing Scrolls trademark dispute

Friday, 7 October 2011 00:24 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Bethesda and Zenimax have had a lot of bad press over its Scrolls trademark dispute with Mojang, but the publisher is in a difficult position and not exactly delighted by it, either.

“This is a business matter based on how trademark law works and it will continue to be dealt with by lawyers who understand it, not by me or our developers,” Bethesda vice president Pete Hines told Kotaku when asked about the case.

But even though Hines wouldn’t comment on the particulars of the case, he did let slip that things aren’t as clear cut as we might have believed.

“Mojang’s public comments have not given a complete picture as it relates to their filings, our trademarks, or events that have taken place,” he said.

Legal experts told Kotaku that trademark law will undermine Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls trademark if it doesn’t challenge Mojang; the US Patent and Trademark Office’s own assessment found the marks too similar to co-exist legally:

“The applicant’s mark so resembles [The Elder Scrolls trademark] as to be likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive. Regarding the The Elder Scrolls marks, the applicant has merely deleted the term ELDER from the registered mark. The mere deletion of wording from a registered mark may not be sufficient to overcome a likelihood of confusion.”

Despite these suggestions that Zenimax is only doing what is legally required of it if it wants to hold onto its rights, Bethesda isn’t happy about the situation.

“Nobody here enjoys being forced into this. Hopefully it will all be resolved soon,” Hines commented.

Zenimax has filed against Mojang in a Swedish court over the title of its upcoming game, Scrolls.