Shackpets | Available on iOS and Google Play Store

Mojang: Bethesda refused offers to compromise on 'Scrolls' dispute

Regarding the ongoing kerfuffle between Mojang Specifications and Bethesda Softworks, Minecraft creator Markus 'Notch' Persson clarified that he is still unclear as to why his company is being targeted after two offers to settle the dispute were shot down

37

Regarding the ongoing kerfuffle between Mojang Specifications and Bethesda Softworks, Minecraft creator Markus 'Notch' Persson says he is unclear as to why his company is being targeted, considering two offers to settle the naming dispute between both companies have been "refused."

The legal issue between both companies hinges on Mojang's use of the word 'Scrolls' for the its upcoming title. Bethesda, makers of The Elder Scrolls series, claims that Mojang's use of the word infringes on its own trademarks.

In response to a republished story on Kotaku which attempted to list the possible ins and outs of the legal battle, Persson claims his company offered to "give up" its original plan of trademarking 'Scrolls' as well as add a subtitle to its upcoming title. Both offers, he says, we rejected by Bethesda.

"Whatever reason they have for suing us, it’s not a fear of us having a trademark on the word 'Scrolls', as we’ve offered to give that up," Persson wrote on his blog.

The intent for seeking the 'Scrolls' trademark, Persson says, was because the company realized they should have applied for the trademark of its original title Minecraft. "When doing so, we also sent in an application for 'Scrolls'."

Xav de Matos was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 4, 2011 6:15 PM

    Xav de Matos posted a new article, Mojang: Bethesda refused offers to compromise on 'Scrolls' dispute.

    Regarding the ongoing kerfuffle between Mojang Specifications and Bethesda Softworks, Minecraft creator Markus 'Notch' Persson clarified that he is still unclear as to why his company is being targeted after two offers to settle the dispute were shot down

    • reply
      October 4, 2011 6:34 PM

      This really is a strange situation and the fact that no one from bethesda has said anything about it makes it even more strange. At least in the steam vs. ea debate, eventually both sides spoke out after a couple of weeks.

      • reply
        October 4, 2011 7:24 PM

        Both sides were still really cagey and Steam never said anything particularly snipe-y about EA.

        I don't know how the courts work over on that side of the ocean, but here in the US you really need to keep your mouth shut while there is pending legal action. Even if he's just repeating true statements, he's basically presenting his entire defense ahead of time for free while Zenimax's lawyers haven't shown him jack shit. Furthermore, he could be opening himself up for charges of libel. In some European countries, you can still get sued for intentional reputation damage even if what you say is true.

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 11:23 AM

        it's not really strange. one is a very large company with a lot at stake and a certain structure to how they deal with these things, the other is a dude that tweets hilarious and sometimes annoying stuff.

    • reply
      October 4, 2011 6:37 PM

      I really wish they all would stop saying Bethesda when its actually Zenimax their holding company.

      • reply
        October 4, 2011 6:55 PM

        ZeniMax is the holding company that owns Bethesda, yes. Notch, however, says Bethesda in his quotes. I can't misquote him when writing this story.

      • reply
        October 4, 2011 6:58 PM

        Even Notch has referred to the party suing him as Bethesda, not Zenimax.

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 1:56 AM

        Bethesda and Zenimax are the same company, it's only 2 different names on paper for legal protection. In a physical sense, there is no difference between the two, they're run and operated by the same people. It's the same deal as 3d Realms being owned by Apogee, when it's Scott and George who run them both. It's a legal technicality, and anyone saying "Bethesda" in this situation is not wrong, saying either name refers to the same people.

    • reply
      October 4, 2011 6:37 PM

      I'm a bit worried Notch is being way to open about these proceedings. Could bite him in the ass if he's not careful.

      • reply
        October 4, 2011 6:48 PM

        Law is a son of a bitch

        But yeah, his talking about this, while refreshing in a sense for us fans, might hurt him legally.

        • reply
          October 4, 2011 7:36 PM

          depends on where the trial takes place? Isn't he in Sweden? From what I've seen and heard of european legal proceedings, is that they are more open to communication and slightly less reserved than North America.

          • reply
            October 5, 2011 1:09 AM

            Huh? Few European countries share the same juridistication and their trial process are sometimes quite different from eachother.

    • reply
      October 4, 2011 7:29 PM

      Robert Altman is the chairman and CEO......Notch is screwed.

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 6:19 AM

        why? He'll write and direct a long form film based on the intertwining lives of otherwise unconnected characters, get critical acclaim and fail at the box office like every film since MASH? I'd be afraid too.

    • reply
      October 4, 2011 7:36 PM

      I don't understand how Bethesda/Zenimax has much ground to stand on here. It's just the word scrolls. Now if Mojang was calling their next game something like "Scrolls of the Elders" I could see a problem.

      I think one of two things is happening:

      1. Bethesda is/was developing another smaller game as a sort of companion to the Elder Scrolls franchise, or

      2. This is some sort of play at a "hostile" takeover of Mojang.

      I'm just shootin' in the dark here though.

      • reply
        October 4, 2011 9:10 PM

        Hostile takeover actually seems to make a bit of sense.

        • reply
          October 5, 2011 2:37 AM

          That would only work if Mojang was a publicly traded company. Which it isn't.

          • reply
            October 5, 2011 6:03 AM

            Don't be too sure. If you can establish that certain intellectual property is, in fact, yours, you can essentially take over the company by ripping out everything of value and leaving an empty bag. If there is something else to this game that Zenimax thinks they can get rights to, and they succeed in doing so, then it will be a takeover in all but name.

            Hostile takeovers are usually looked at as appeals to the public to buy shares of a company that does not want to be taken over by an outside or inside entity. The above example would essentially achieve the same result by different means.

            • reply
              October 5, 2011 6:06 AM

              Considering the only property they appear to be going after is the trademark, that seems unlikely here.

              • reply
                October 5, 2011 6:18 AM

                Trademark law, if I am not mistaken, can go further into it than just the name. For example, I'll make a movie about a guy named "Billy" who learns he has a mystical connection to something called "the Power" that allows me to do amazing things with a laser sword. So I fly around in space ships and blow up the Doom Cube and find out that the armor clad villain is actually my mom. Guess what? Lucas's office will be calling me shortly.

                They might ask for a judgement that says "Relinquish title, promise not to ever make anything called Scrolls, and surrender all concept art, material, storyline, in-game assets, marketing pieces and character names related to said property."

                Then Bethesda says: "Hey, look, I know this turned out kinda harsh, but if you want to we can settle this out of court and we just want a piece of it and you can be a valued employee of ours and we'll be good."

                Which is basically a takeover.

                Really, one of our trademark lawyers should chime in. I think we have a couple on the Shack.

                • reply
                  October 5, 2011 6:33 AM

                  Pretty sure that's not trademark law. Trademark protects a source of origin essentially. Bethesda will have to show that the Scrolls mark is confusingly similar to its own Elder Scrolls mark. This is often shown by articles, customer calls, comments etc. that show that people honestly mistook Notch's Scrolls as coming from Bethesda. Trademark says "no riding coattails on my name"

                  What you described above is more closely related to Copyright, which protects creative works from being copied. But even then, Copyright only protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. So even then, the hypothetical you outline is actionable, but not necessarily a clear case of copyright infringement if the expression of that same idea is suitably different and creative.

                  • reply
                    October 5, 2011 7:51 AM

                    Yeah, I think you might be right. Still, since we haven't seen the actual lawsuit docs, it's hard to say they don't have copyright infringment in there. Anyway, since there's nothing really out there to support or refute, it's fun to shoot scenarios on it.

                • reply
                  October 5, 2011 7:55 AM

                  I'm not a trademark lawyer, but I do know trademark is much more limited than that. I think you're referring to copyright in that instance, and the situation you describe might not even be actionable on those grounds (not that I'd want to be the one to try it with Lucas).

          • reply
            October 5, 2011 8:06 AM

            More like bankrupt him with lawyer fees and then offer to buy everything cheap.

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 12:48 AM

      This could really damage Bethesda's reputation, especially with Skyrim not far away. It's a shame :(

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 1:04 AM

        Hurts reputation among who? Fanboys like yourself?

        The whole wording from Markus is to hurt them. Bethesda has nothing to do with this, they're developers - yet he mentions them everywhere. He knows that's the name everyone recognizes and that Zenimax isn't as known among the gamers.

        • reply
          October 5, 2011 2:01 AM

          You're wrong. As I mentioned before, Bethesda and Zenimax are one and the same. The same people own and operate both. Just like 3dRealms and Apogee, Zenimax exists only to be a legal protection for Bethesda, so that is someone wants to sue Bethesda, they have to instead sue the parent company, Zenimax, which protects the individuals who work for Bethesda, as well as the owners of Bethesda. Bethesda and Zenimax are one and the same.

          • reply
            October 5, 2011 6:12 AM

            That's not really how it works. Corporations already provide legal protection to owners, in most cases (it is possible to pierce the corporate veil if you don't follow certain rules, however). I always assumed that Zenimax existed so that Zenimax could raise cash with Bethesda stock as collateral, which would limit a creditor to taking over shares of Bethesda as opposed to putting Bethesda itself into a cash crunch. If Bethesda does the borrowing and defaults, it goes into bankruptcy and its properties are sold for a fire sale. Development halts, and the brand name goes down the tubes, taking goodwill with it.

            If Zenimax defaults, and goes into bankruptcy, the pledged collateral (probably shares of Bethesda) goes to creditors and the shell corp goes away, but Bethesda doesn't, anymore than GE would go bankrupt if some guy in Alabama with 20 shares filed for Chapter 7.

            That's important, because you can have situations where a bankruptcy is more a function of cash flow insolvency and not balance sheet insolvency. Cash flow insolvency is when companies worth $1 billion dollars but with no cash on hand go under and have to sell their assets for $600 million because it's a fire sale.

            • reply
              October 6, 2011 11:19 PM

              Thanks for the detailed perspective!

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 1:22 AM

      This whole thing seems ridiculous. If someone were to write a historical ficton/fantasy novel and title it Scrolls, are they going to get sued as well?

      Fuck, man.

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 6:34 AM

        Trademarks are sorted into classes. Each class protects a specific use of a mark. The class here is probably computer software, specifically games.

        A fantasy novel called Scrolls would not conflict unless Bethesda also had published fantasy novels for Elder Scrolls and had a trademark in the class of novels as well.

        • reply
          October 5, 2011 7:53 AM

          What about if i wrote a fantasy novel called A Storm Of Daggers

          • reply
            October 5, 2011 7:59 AM

            Not everyone trademarks their titles and whatnot. I recall Edgar Rice Burroughs' estate was able to shut down a Tarzan porn parody on trademark grounds because he'd gone through the effort of obtaining one, though it was considered unusual at the time. It was unusual because the books themselves are in the public domain now - the copyright expired, so the production thought they were safe. But Trademark doesn't have the same limitations.

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 8:03 AM

      Everyone please read this:

      http://kotaku.com/5846111/mojang-v-bethesda-or-i-hate-it-when-mommy-and-daddy-fight

      Zenimax isn't being as big a dick as everyone thinks.

      If one were to attempt to judge based solely on Twitter and the blogs, Zenimax would appear to be the bad guy here. Notch, perhaps attempting to bolster that perception, has put on his hurt face, claiming Zeni is "picking on the little guy." But after looking at Mojang's "Scrolls" patent application, I'm not so sure the case is as black and white as many would seem to believe. Specifically this part, referring to Mojang's claim of trademark on the use of "scrolls" for "radio and television programs and shows":

      The application covers:

      "Entertainment services in the form of electronic, computer and video games provided by means of the Internet and other remote communications device; internet games (non downloadable); organising of games; games (not downloadable) played via a global computer network; education and entertainment services in the form of cinematographic, televisual, digital and motion picture films, radio and television programs and shows; preparation, editing and production of cinematographic, televisual, digital and motion picture films, radio and television programs; entertainment services in the form of electronic, computer and video games provided by means of the Internet, mobile telephone and other remote communications device."

      In other words, Mojang intends to own the word "scrolls" in pretty much every form of visual entertainment media, not just in videogames. This means that, if the trademark is upheld, the company could rightly take action against anyone else using the word "scrolls" in any form of media whatsoever. Now, that would only be a problem if you were a successful media company planning to use the word "scrolls" in some form of entrainment media … Oh wait … that's right. If you're Zenimax, this trademark fucks you. Hard.

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 8:09 AM

        [deleted]

        • reply
          October 5, 2011 8:29 AM

          "of" is my word. and ill sue you if you use it!

        • reply
          October 5, 2011 8:58 AM

          [deleted]

          • reply
            October 5, 2011 9:29 AM

            When you say any of the above words I instantly think of those companies. When you say "scrolls", all I think of is dusty parchment. I don't think Bethesda owns that word as much as they seem to think they do.

          • reply
            October 5, 2011 9:38 AM

            [deleted]

          • reply
            October 5, 2011 9:45 AM

            I really hope Bethesda gets bounced. If you want to copyright 'scrolls', it can't just be one word in your multi-word title. If Bungie had started with 'Halo Ships: A Space Marine Odyssey', you'd hope they wouldn't get to claim every single word in there.

            • reply
              October 5, 2011 12:19 PM

              By the sounds of it Betheseda is on the defense here, where Notch is on an attack. Bethesda likely would have allowed him to use the name but instead he wants writes to use it everywhere and would likely try to sue Betheseda if they tried to use the term Scrolls again. I don't see why you'd want Bethesda to lose, did you even read mechanicalgrape's post?

          • reply
            October 5, 2011 11:58 AM

            aren't they also just one word titles?

        • reply
          October 5, 2011 11:25 AM

          tons of words are trademarked already for video games exactly like this one.

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 10:01 AM

        Apparently Notch is a manipulating asshole.

        Might as well just say it.

        • reply
          October 5, 2011 10:12 AM

          Alternatively, you shouldn't really be looking to Kotaku for insightful coverage.

          • reply
            October 5, 2011 11:26 AM

            i think that's what notch is counting on - that gamers will read his tweets, blog, and short blurbs on gaming sites and not dig into what is a rather obtuse argument - but one that makes a lot of sense.

            • reply
              October 5, 2011 11:33 AM

              Yeah this is information is quite a bit different. You can use these one word common things in specific segments but trying to make it fly in every domain is problematic. I mean Microsoft doesn't have a trademark on Windows in every market segment.

              • reply
                October 5, 2011 11:40 AM

                correct - but gamers complaining that "windows" is not something that anyone can claim is silly. that's just not how copyright/trademarking works.

                windows is actually a PERFECT example.

            • reply
              October 5, 2011 11:47 AM

              I wasn't saying that people shouldn't look at the claims, just that Kotaku really aren't people I'd trust to get it right.

            • reply
              October 5, 2011 12:00 PM

              I would never have read that article if Notch hadn't linked it. I imagine I'm not alone.

        • reply
          October 7, 2011 9:23 AM

          You're a mindless Beth fanboy.

          Might as well just say it.

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 10:44 AM

        I still support Notch even though he might not be handling this the best way, it just rubs me the wrong way that a company can own the word "scrolls" like that.

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 8:49 AM

      Mojang's up coming title, Rolled Parchment, is being sued by Pilsbury, the dough boy feels "slightly infringed" being both a roll, and being placed on parchment while baking.

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 9:34 AM

      [deleted]

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 11:22 AM

      Whatever. Seriously whatever. Bastards have millions of dollars to throw around over some BS that won't ever affect a little guy like me. I know the difference between the games if I go to pick one, anyone who does any research can figure it out. I just don't see the big deal here unless he was purposely naming the game to ride in the wake of the success of bethesda's elder scrolls series. You can't own words, I'm sorry. Neither one of them can.

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 11:27 AM

        you can own trademarks on words, actually. this is the way business works.

        both companies have lots of money - that's not the point. the point it to protect the future products and IP on both sides.

        they are both companies.

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 11:39 AM

        your name is borderline copyright infringement btw

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 11:42 AM

        You can't own words, I'm sorry.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark

        A trademark is typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements.[2] There is also a range of non-conventional trademarks comprising marks which do not fall into these standard categories, such as those based on color, smell, or sound.

    • reply
      October 11, 2011 1:07 AM

      Glad to be here, I'm johnny lester Most recently from Colorado, originally from Des Moines and grew up there.

      I have a great family,I love all four seasons , specially the Fall and with all its colors.

      Business has been a part of my life for the last 5 years and most recently primarily on the World Wide Web.

      I cannot resist to learn.

      Things as they are, more and more people are seeking guidance from people who have walked the walk and can teach others how to benefit from their experience. I am here to help those that need help and will ask for help from other people when i need it.


      I am a technician in the field of Engineering project management software.


      I am sharing my favorite sites , sourcing china The best china products found here china supplier china manufacturing


      I love to ask questions

      when possible I volunteer for for valid causes that help the environment.

      Its great to be a part of this awesome venue and hope I can help.

Hello, Meet Lola