Bethesda has issued a letter to Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson's company, Mojang, claiming that the title of their next game, Scrolls, infringes on Bethesda's own trademark for The Elder Scrolls. Specifically, the statement claims that people will confuse it with the upcoming RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
The news came from Persson himself, who tweeted about the letter earlier this morning. Bethesda has not publicly commented on the legal claim.
Persson has since shown a photo of the 15-page document, and offered some kind words towards Bethesda. "I still <3 Bethesda," he said. "This is hopefully just lawyers being lawyers." He later reiterated, "Again, to be clear, the devs at Bethesda are cool people! This is their lawyers. They're a very big company now."
In a blog post, he elaborated that this began months ago when Mojang began speaking with Bethesda, after applying for a trademark for Scrolls.
"The implication that you could own the right to all individual words within a trademark is also a bit scary," he said. "We looked things up and realized they didn't have much of a case, but we still took it seriously. Nothing about Scrolls is meant to in any way derive from or allude to their games. We suggested a compromise where we'd agree to never put any words in front of 'Scrolls', and instead call sequels and other things something along the lines of 'Scrolls - The Banana Expansion'. I'm not sure if they ever got back to us with a reply to this.
"Today, I got a 15 page letter from some Swedish lawyer firm, saying they demand us to stop using the name Scrolls, that they will sue us (and have already paid the fee to the Swedish court), and that they demand a pile of money up front before the legal process has even started," he continued. "I assume this is all some more or less automated response to us applying for the trademark."
If the letter is simply a legal formality, it's possible that Bethesda is simply going through the necessary steps to prove that it attempted to stop trademark dilution. The threat of a suit and request for payment, though, could imply more serious stakes.
Shacknews has contacted Bethesda regarding the letter, but has not received a reply as of the time of publishing.