Mojang and ZeniMax settle Scrolls trademark dispute

By Alice O'Connor, Mar 12, 2012 6:15am PDT

Update: (9:43 a.m.) ZeniMax comment added.

2011's slightly silly legal battle between Bethesda parent company ZeniMax and Minecraft developer Mojang over the name 'Scrolls' has drawn to a close with a settlement that sees both parties getting what they wanted -- sort of. The Swedish indie will be allowed to use that name for its digital collectible card game, but is handing the trademark over to ZeniMax.

ZeniMax had claimed in August that the 'Scrolls' name was too close to its The Elder Scrolls series, and infringed upon the trademark. ZeniMax took it to the courts, though Mojang did defeat ZeniMax's attempted interim injunction against Scrolls two months later. The ruling judge disagreed with ZeniMax's claim that people would mistake Scrolls for a TES game, and noted that scrolls are very common in fantasy. It sounds silly, certainly, but legal experts said ZeniMax had to protect its trademark or risk losing it.

Still, that's all over now, as the pair have signed a peace treaty.

"The settlement is that we give them the trademark, get to keep the name, and won't make an Elder Scrolls competitor using the name," Mojang head honcho Markus 'Notch' Persson explained on Twitter.

Mojang managing director Carl Manneh added on the Mojang blog, "For us this was never about a trade mark but being able to use Scrolls as the name of our game which we can – Yey."

"We are pleased to have settled this matter with Mojang amicably," said Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax. "The Elder Scrolls is an important brand to us, and with this settlement we were able to protect our valuable property rights while allowing Mojang to release their digital card game under the name they preferred."

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