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Mojang keeps Scrolls name following interim injunction

Tuesday, 18th October 2011 08:28 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Mojang co-founder Markus Persson has tweeted that Mojang can keep using the name Scrolls for its upcoming card-based game – for now.

The tweet reads: “We won the interim injunction! We can keep using the name ‘Scrolls’. ZeniMax/Bethesda can still appeal the ruling, but I’m very happy.”

Mojang’s Daniel Kaplan has since posted the judgement in full and in Swedish on Twitter.

The victory could be premature, however, as the decision can still be appealed by Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax.

The news follows a legal dispute which started this summer. ZeniMax sent a letter back in August over potential confusion between Mojang’s game and Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls series, with Notch saying the matter was just “lawyers being lawyers.”

In September, following the initial letter, it was confirmed the issue would go to court.

Persson admitted it had offered to give up the Scrolls trademark and change the name, but ZeniMax had refused.

Bethesda VP Pete Hines said recently on the dispute: “Nobody here enjoys being forced into this. Hopefully it will all be resolved soon.”

Scrolls was unveiled at GDC this past March as Mojang’s next big game after Minecraft. It will release next year.

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12 Comments

  1. Blerk

    Sanity prevails, at least for now. But what a spectacular waste of everyone’s time and money this has been.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    Yeah. I have to be honest, I’m baffled how this ever became a “thing”.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Old MacDonald

    It’s odd how so many claims Bethesda “has to defend their assets” et.c., when it’s obvious they don’t own the word Scrolls. They own a name that uses the word, just like it uses the words The and Elder.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Freek

    The Escapist podcast had a verry interesting section about this a couple weeks ago. And not all is what it seems.
    What it comes down to is that in US trademark law you have to defend your trademark is somebody registers something similar or you loose your right to it entirely. You have no choice in that.
    So when Mojang registered it’s trademark for Scroll, Zenimax got notified of that fact and was forced to take legal action.
    The offer to slightly change the name was not deemed enough of a difference by the Trademark office, so again; no choice but to continue on to court.
    The Trademark office decides what is and is not similar and who gets to keep their rights, Zenimax has no say in that.
    They decided that Scrolls was too similar to The Eldar Scrolls. nobody owns words, you own a trademark and have to defend it from things that look similar. Or in short, it’s about the words, it’s how they are used.

    It’s a verry stupid law that resulted in a situation that neither company wanted but had no choice in.
    Notch then decided to use public opinion for his own gain and played up the part of the innocent bystander being seud by the big bad company. Wich wasn’t exactly fair. And lets face it, after the succes of Minecraft, Mojang is no longer the little guy either.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Anders

    Read the judgement. ZeniMax will have to appeal the judgement before three weeks have passed if they want to take it further.

    @4: Despite their success, Mojang is still just a couple of guys working in an apartment in Stockholm.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Old MacDonald

    4: US laws are not applicable in the Swedish court system, and besides the fact that they’ve lost this first round obviously shows that this is not something they had to do to defend their trademark. If it had been, the courts would have favoured them, not Mojang.

    Sure, they have to defend their “The Elder Scrolls”-trademark or they risk losing it. But Scrolls is not The Elder Scrolls, and they don’t own the rights to that word so there’s nothing to defend.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. deathgaze

    @6: As per the Word of Notch:

    1. essentially it all boils down to whether the relevant public are likely to be confused into thinking that our “Scrolls” game is connected with Bethesda or its games, taking all the circumstances into account; and
    2. apparently the “moron in a hurry” doesn’t count (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_moron_in_a_hurry)

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Freek

    You also have to defend your trademark from anything that looks similar, and Scrolls does. US law is what started this since both companies publish their games in the US.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. DSB

    @4 Then it doesn’t make any kind of sense to file a lawsuit in Sweden. That has absolutely no bearing on the US legal system. If they filed in the US, then that would make a spot of sense.

    And even then, what’s understood by defending your trademark is something entirely different. Nobody would ever be forced to sue anyone for using one word from their product. If someone actually copies their product and truly violates the trademark then yes, they’d be forced to respond or forfeit the trademark, but that has absolutely nothing to do with Bethesda thinking they own the word Scrolls.

    And in this case there’s absolutely no basis in the product itself. There’s nothing resembling a race from The Elder Scrolls, the game itself is a card game, and the graphics are all drawn. There’s no connection what so ever. Bethesda is never going to be forced to sue anyone for doing fantasy games with the word Scrolls in it, that’s entirely by choice.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Freek

    Nope, trademark also covers a name alone. Both companies use Scrolls for a videogame name, so there’s conflict.
    It’s a stupid law for sure, but no avoiding it.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. DSB

    Nope, at no point has Bethesda used Scrolls as the title of one of their video games. A trademark grants you a name, that’s true, but it doesn’t grant you words out of the dictionary, as Bethesda seem to believe.

    They’ve used:

    The Elder Scrolls: Arena
    The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
    An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire
    The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
    The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
    The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal
    The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon
    The Elder Scrolls Travels: Stormhold
    The Elder Scrolls Travels: Dawnstar
    The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey
    The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
    The Elder Scrolls IV: Knights of the Nine
    The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles
    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

    None of which bear any resemblance to the mere word “scrolls” out of the dictionary, aside from the fact that it tends to constitute between one fourth and one seventh of the name of their properties. Which is far too little to grant you ownership of the word itself.

    It’s just Tim Langdell all over again, although I reckon he had a better case, since his title was actually just the one word. It’s blatant trademark abuse.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Freek

    Unfortunatly it doesn’t work like that. To the eyes of the law Scrolls is a similar trademark to Elder Scrolls and if you don’t defend against that similar claim or allow it’s unlicensed use without contesting it, you loose your trademark.
    Tim Langdel exploited that for his own gain, in this case that isn’t happening. Two companies both have legitimate uses for the trademark, they simply have to go through the legal procces of determining who and how can lay claim to it’s use and what the terms are.
    Notch cleverly used social media to paint himself as the victim but it’s just the way things go, it’s just buisiness.

    #12 3 years ago

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