Notch Vs Bethesda: The Court Papers

Another batch of documents in the legal wrangling between gaming giant Bethesda and indie darling Mojang hit Twitter today.

Minecraft creator Markus Persson Tweeted what appears to be Bethesda's filings in the upcoming trademark case involving Scrolls and The Elder Scrolls.

While Kotaku has the documents in question, no one here speaks Swedish. If you do, and are interested in translating for us, hit up the embed below and then comments.

Last month lawyers for Bethesda Softworks sent a lengthy letter to developer Mojang, claiming that the Minecraft studio's upcoming card-based strategy game, Scrolls, was too close for comfort to Bethesda's flagship franchise, The Elder Scrolls. With The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim right around the corner, Bethesda requested that Notch and company rename Scrolls to avoid any potential confusion.

Notch replied by publicly suggesting that the case be settled with a Quake match between the two developers. Bethesda, not one to decide the fate of IP names on game matches, apparently pushed the case forward. Earlier this week, Notch tweeted that the case was going to court.


    A lot to translate, but I'll translate the second page (the first is just bullshit)

    Zenimax urges the court for a compensation of 200.000 crowns (~40k AUD) - or an amount that the court deems fair - for each violation. This restricts Mojang from using the trademark 'SCROLLS' in computer and videogames and related merchandise.

    Zenimax urges the court for a compensation of 200,000 crowns - or an amount that the court deems fair - temporarily for the time until this court case has been concluded, for violations of the trademark 'SCROLLS'

    Zenimax urges the court to hold Mojang responsible for potential court costs for an amount which will later be stated.

    Zenimax also urges the court to hold Mojang responsible to take necessary measures to distribute information regarding the court outcome.

    2: BASIS

    Zenimax as a sole provider holds world-wide rights for the trademark 'THE ELDER SCROLLS' (and then some date bullshit)

    Mojang unrightfully, and without the approval of Zenimax, is using the trademark through the easily confusable 'SCROLLS' for goods that are identical and/or similar to the goods that the trademark applies to. Henceforth Mojang is violating the trademark act.

    In light of the trademark violation there lies reason to ensue a ban on the usage of the trademark.

    Despite discussion between the parties, Mojang has refused to cease the usage of 'SCROLLS' for computer and/or video games and continues to violate the trademark.

    It's reasonable to believe that Mojang will continue to violate this trademark, therefore the court has been asked to ensue that a ban of the usage will be in place until the court case is settled.

    .. sorry, that's all you're getting from me ;)

    Has anyone ever heard of the Elder Scrolls referred to as just Scrolls? Because I sure haven't. Bethsada are just being stupid about this if you ask me

    "‘SCROLLS’ for goods that are identical and/or similar to the goods that the trademark applies to."

    Lol Id like to see exactly how many games they play if they think an Action FPS RPG is even similar to a bleeping turn based fantasy card game.

      Unfortunately, if this trademark law works on classes of goods, then the class will just be video games (or something similar), which means the difference in genre is irrelevant.

    still think if Bethesda / Zenimax get away with this bullshit then there is something seriously wrong with trademarks / patients laws been used to trademark one work ...The trademark is "The elder scrolls" not "scrolls" ...freakin' idoit lawyers with to much time on their hands.

    I'm surely not the only one able to Easily tell the two titles apart, right? Fuck off, Zenimax.

    Well to be honest, when I refer to skyrim or oblivion etc. I don't say The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I usually just say Oblivion or Skyrim.

    Yeah, but what if he called this new fantasy/card game "Gathering" what would you think then?

      Then it would be worth changing the name over.

      Also, I call those games TES. or by their names
      never actually SAY scrolls lol

    just repeating what other people have said, but i just don't get how there is even a case? 'Scrolls' could mean pastry snacks or something, its totally unrelated to TES, the whole thing is about money, obviously

    Just as a general response to most people so far:

    The law (as I understand it) doesn't only apply to what people commonly used, but to the official title of a long running series of products.

    As an example: If you want to argue that only the product specific name counts (ie: Oblivion), then you're similarly arguing that another copyright/TM only holds on "A New Hope" and "Return of the Jedi" but not "Star Wars".

    Empire Strikes Back and Skyrim are simply episodes in their relevant series. The series name holds.

      I think what people are arguing more than anything is that Lucas Arts doesn't hold the copyright to the words Star or Wars as individuals. What if I call my game "The", which is also a part of "The Elder Scrolls". This is just patent whoring.

    Bethesda isn't being stupid here. The thing about law is that is goes in past cases. And if something chomps the line, and they ignore it, then later down the track they lose it.

    Bethesda pretty much has to fight this, or they lose their rights to their trademark down the track. The fact that it seems small and pettish doesn't mean it is.

    Stay classy, Bethesda.

    If just one word of "the elder scrolls" can be considered trademark infringement, surely things like Gears of War vs God of War would've been a huge issue? Call of Duty vs Call of Juarez? Super Mario World vs Super Meat Boy? etc etc...

    I can't remember the last time I used 'scrolls' when referring to any of their games. It was always morrowind, oblivion, skyrim. Regardless of 'protecting their trademark' it's still ridiculous to to take a single word and use that as your basis.

    What Bethesda would have done was to have gone through any and all words they can associate with the series and trademark them, just like you can with website names and such. They would have sat down one day and gone through all the names they would likely use sometime as part of the series and spent their hard earned money on buying up any and all rights.

    Fast forward 2013:

    No games with the words "Legend", "Super", "Birds", "War", "Evil", "Tomb", "Fantasy", "Quest" and 500 others can be made anymore. In fact, if you intend to use those words in day-by-day speech, you must seek approval (and pay the licensing fees) from the corresponding companies.

    In the meantime, game companies struggle to create new franchises delving into the most obscure or unassuming parts of the english vocabulary. In other news, the just released "The endeavours of the abject mattress" for the PS4 has been garnering positive impressions among critics.

      The Legend of the Super Birds of War: The tale of the Evil lord's Tomb... A high Fantasy Quest.

      So trademarking THAT!

    Bethesda are legally obligated to enforce trademark law even when it's stupid. If they don't, they risk losing the trademark so yes there is something really stupid about trademark law.

    Personally I'd have liked to see the Quake match though. ;)

    One single fact remains unsaid.
    If this lawsuit is to stop people buying Scrolls, solely because they believe it has some connection to "The elder scrolls" and therefore Bethesda.

    Then rest assured, you do not need a lawsuit because of that. Our inborn intelligence is more than enough to distinguish Mojang from Bethesda.

    This is purely a display of power! Such high level of arrogance they display, must really help them in their upcoming release of Skyrim, no i meant scrolls 5.

    Zenimax also urges the court to hold Mojang responsible to take necessary measures to distribute information regarding the court outcome." Obviously they have high belief in themselves winning already.

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