Bethesda’s Lawyers: We Own the Word “Scrolls”

Okay, we’ll be honest, this is another copyright infringement case, which is just like a thousand other electronics/media-related infringement lawsuit stories you will find on the internet. And normally, we really would not bother even to take a moment away from worshipping the images of new Alduin statue we just pre-ordered.

But Bethesda’s Todd Howard and Mojang’s Markus Persson are supposed to be good acquaintances. So why are Bethesda’s lawyers not backing down?

First up, the facts: Mojang came up with a new game entitled “Scrolls”. Bethesda’s lawyers –simply doing their job of protecting the company IP, declared that the title of the game was too similar to “The Elder Scrolls”, and has taken legal action in order to convince Mojang to change the name of their upcoming game.

Now, this may seem like a very silly thing to say, after all, the world “scrolls” is a pretty common term. But the fact of the matter is that no other game company has been able to successfully use the word in a game title. Do a quick search on games with the word scrolls on the title and the only hits you will get are Bethesda owned games and one MMORPG slated to be released in the UK region titled “Age of Wulin: Legend of the Nine Scrolls”. The word “scroll” on the hand is apparently not copyrighted to Bethesda and it appears in at least 5 different games.

Todd Howard has yet to make a comment on this matter –it is pretty much common for a game company’s legal department to take action without having to consult the developers. Well, he’s also the Executive Producer and Game Director for the company, but we would like to think at this point that Todd spends more of his time working on the games and presenting it to fans.

Markus is taking the lawsuit with a steady stride and simply stated that he hopes this incident is a case of “lawyers being lawyers”. But is it?

The fact is that Mojang’s Scrolls is going to be released right around the same time as Skyrim, and for those who are not too familiar with the difference between the two games, it would not be hard to associate the smaller digital card game as with the major PC and console title. Sure, the actual games are quite different, but it is hard to deny the fact that Scrolls will be riding on the popularity of Skyrim’s launch. Of course, now that the game is being highlighted in this lawsuit story, Mojang can easily change the name as it has already achieved the popularity and mass interest it needs.


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