Notch Says Settle Scrolls Dispute Via Quake 3

By John Walker on August 17th, 2011 at 3:29 pm.

QUAD DAMAGE!

Markus “Notch” Persson, creator of Minecraft, is currently in dispute with Bethesda over the trademark for “Scrolls”. Mojang’s next game is called Scrolls, which Bethesda says is too similar to The Elder Scrolls. A lack of hilarity ensues. Except now Notch has struck upon a potential solution. A Quake 3 match. He suggests three from Mojang take on three from Bethesda, pick a map each, and compete for the name.

“Remember that scene in Game of Thrones where Tyrion chose a trial by battle in the Eyrie?” asks Persson. “Well, let’s do that instead!”

He suggests two 20 minute matches, with the highest total frag count per team across both levels winning. The terms of the challenge he sets are,

“If we win, you drop the lawsuit.

If you win, we will change the name of Scrolls to something you’re fine with.

Regardless of the outcome, we could still have a small text somewhere saying our game is not related to your game series in any way, if you wish.

I am serious, by the way.”

Unfortunately Bethesda and their army of lawyers have so far proven to be a touch humourless about such things. While it would clearly be the greatest thing to have happened in PC gaming history, I suspect they won’t be nearly honourable enough to take on the challenge.

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242 Comments »

  1. Bilbo says:

    If this actually happened I think my faith in humanity would make a massive hole in the roof of my office as it rocketed skyward

    • Sensai says:

      No kidding. Humanity in general and Notch specifically.

      (I was one of those guys who had Minecraft long before most of the internet knew about it, when he updated in a huge way every Friday, long before he had to burn money on vacation after vacation to keep from drowning in it. So, his rather infrequent update process since Valve’s mention of him and his game has irked me a bit.)

    • Bilbo says:

      Preaching to the choir, buddy. I’m very skeptical of his post-raging-success work.

    • oceanclub says:

      I can’t believe he took time away from updating Minecraft to get married. What an absolute bastard.

      P.

    • Bilbo says:

      Yeah because that’s all that’s happened in six months.

      P.

      Also what is P?

      KG.

    • karry says:

      Thats right, thats what humanity needs – return of duels. Why care about truth and justice, when strength and skill can trump all ! Back ! Back to the Golden (Middle) Ages !

    • Bilbo says:

      I think playing a harmless game in order to sidestep a gruelling, wasteful, and extremely expensive and unhappy lawsuit is a pretty light-hearted and fun-loving sort of thing to do and not the pistols at dawn affair you make it out to be. Have you played Quake? The players don’t often die.

    • karry says:

      Whats the difference ? One way is following the law, which is by nature selfperfecting and has been doing so for ages, and the other way is just silly. It’s like if i was caught with a hand in your pocket, and then said : lets see who benchpresses the most, me or you, if its me – you pay me half your money, deal ?

    • DrGonzo says:

      Entitled, I’m so entitled! And Notch is evil natch.

    • Bilbo says:

      Oh my god, world of difference is a world of difference

      They have every right to say no to his jovial little challenge and instead settle their affairs in the courts (and your romanticized view of the courts has been filed away for a rainy day) so what’s the fucking harm cabrón

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      “One way is following the law, which is by nature selfperfecting and has been doing so for ages”

      I just choked on my own phlegm.

    • James says:

      @karry

      Please don’t say such things. Many kittens die when you say things like that, they overdose on ridiculous.

    • Saldek says:

      “Why care about truth and justice [...]”
      “[...]law, which is by nature selfperfecting[...]”

      Your cynicism and sense of irony are of the scale, kid. I’m impressed!

    • 12kill4 says:

      @Karry,

      I believe the tradition stems from the belief that should the accused or their champion succeed in the duel it was the will of the gods. A somewhat more involved version of trial by fire in otherwords, grounded in interventionist religious concepts. And I agree, they have no place in matters of law in this day and age, no matter how amusing it would be. That said, I guess if you consider your lawyer to be your champion and you recognise that often the outcome of court cases goes to who argues the best based on the evidence, rather than who is actually correct…. then the difference is rather a minor matter.

    • Lipwig says:

      This is copyright law, it’s not analogous to finding someone with their hand in your pocket. If taken to court this could go either way, and it’s certainly not Notch who is the one deserving of comparison to a pickpocket here. The majority of opinion seems to suggest that EA are big dumb babies with annoying lawyers picking scabs for no good reason. Legally? Well they might have a point. Copyright law isn’t a flawless thing without criticism though. Everyone would accept that laws against pickpocketing are a good thing, but this is something so much more contentious.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I have next to no knowledge about law, but wasn’t it written in a previous article that bethesda may be forced to take him to court because if they fail to defend this particular (in their opinion) breach of their copyright then they would struggle to defend it again in the future?

      • desolation0 says:

        @HexagonalBolts Indeed, they would have trouble defending against games named Elder or Oblivion in the future. I have a feeling Morrowind or Skyrim are somewhat more secure in this regard, being names created particularly for the series. Fallout as a later part of a title would probably fair game. Honestly, I’ll have to side with Notch on this one legally, as it’s fairly easy to distinguish between Scrolls and The Elder Scrolls. They’d just both turn up on searches for Scrolls, much like say Rage and Streets of Rage.

    • ChowTOdust says:

      If this happened my respect for Bethesda would take off like a rich kid in an amusement park.

  2. Kynrael says:

    Ahahah you have got to love that idea !

  3. talon03 says:

    Notch puts out the cry “Who will be my champion?”
    Pretty sure he’d get a solid from a Quake pro gamer somewhere…

    • 12kill4 says:

      too bad Beth owns ID games now, they could call in veterans from the Quake Live QA team :P

    • mbourgon says:

      Yeah. iD ringers – though again, that’d be something to see.

  4. Forgoroe says:

    lol, seriously?

  5. Silphatos says:

    Notch is Swedish, right? Fair enough.

  6. mojo says:

    will either of them buy pro team for $5M?

  7. CaspianRoach says:

    This is mighty awesome. And an opportunity to earn some money on casting the matches, harr harr!

  8. ResonanceCascade says:

    HUMILIATION.

  9. G915 says:

    I love that guy :)

  10. JohnnyMaverik says:

    It’d be fking cool if this happened ^_^

    It’d put a completely different complexion on e-sports for a start.

    “Just a game you say? Well, I remember back in august 2011 there was a bit legal dispute over the naming of a game, if it’d gone to court the costs would have run into the hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million, but do you know how they settled it?”

  11. I4C says:

    hahah epic, but ye swedes are the best at the quake.

    • kyrieee says:

      I’d put the US ahead of Sweden, and I’m Swedish :P

    • mejoff says:

      As mentioned above, I’d put the current employers of the dev team above, well, most people really.

  12. GenBanks says:

    If this actually happened… it would be one of the most epic things in the history of the games industry :p

    Also, my happiness with Bethesda would be such that I’d feel inclined to buy the Skyrim collector’s edition.

    • Bilbo says:

      Same here. Honestly I can’t think of a better PR stun-

      Holy shit what if they planned this all along

    • Aninhumer says:

      @Bilbo
      Hmm, my first thought was “What an excellent way to get some media attention out of this Notch”. I hadn’t considered the initial complaint being planned. Clearly your cynicism levels are higher than mine.

    • wu wei says:

      I’m pretty sure all courts take a dim view of misusing their processes for promotional purposes.

  13. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Three of our best warriors against three of your best warriors

    Sounds more like the Trial of Seven except with three, which would be keeping with real-world Christianity rather than the Westerosi Faith.

    /ASoIaF nerd

  14. KingMudkip says:

    It’s a trap! Our cruisers can’t repel l33tness of that magnitude!

  15. Unaco says:

    ” I suspect they won’t be nearly honourable enough to take on the challenge.”

    I think they’re declining of this offer will have less to do with honour, and more to do with decent business practices.

    • Nova says:

      Exactly. So what John said still stands.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      Who’s to say that business wouldn’t be a fairer and more just area of human practice if all business related legal disputes weren’t settled with a game of Quake III? Let’s face it, atm it’s who can throw more money at lawyers, especially in the USA.

    • Unaco says:

      @Nova

      Not really. I’m saying that their declining the offer is not a measure of their honour. Honour doesn’t come into this at all. They could have honour coming out of their ears, or they could be bereft of it entirely… but this is not a measure of their honour.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I’m sure John was being completely serious. Positive, in fact.

    • yutt says:

      @Unaco

      Actually, this deals entirely with Bethesda’s level of honor, and only someone completely bereft of honor and the study thereof, such as yourself, could ever mistake otherwise.

      That is simply a fact. Also – Sciences.

    • Bilbo says:

      “SHOW ME YOUR HONOUR!

      …No, your other honour”

    • Starky says:

      Ironically enough (and I know he was joking) but by most ye olde codes of honour (Chivalry and Bushido especially) refusing the challenge is the only honourable thing to do.

    • Unaco says:

      @Yutt

      How dare you?!? You say I have no Honour! I demand satisfaction Sir.

    • Alegis says:

      If Bethesda isn’t seen protecting their trademarks they lose the right to them.

      I wonder if accepting this odd challenge would count.

    • Kent says:

      @yutt
      This isn’t a measure of honor. Only someone completely bereft of intelligence, such as yourself, could ever mistake that. In fact, that RPS dude used honor only to put some power into what would otherwise be powerless and unreasonable point. But of course that’s probably too subtle for you to pick up on anyway.

    • kastanok says:

      Judge: “You fight without honour!”
      Notch: “No. He did.”

    • Harvey says:

      @Bilbo: LOL OGLAF! But which one is Notch?

      Relevant link: NSFW

    • Bilbo says:

      Notch is obviously Kronar in this context. Bethesda are his manwife – apprehensive but hopefully malleable

    • Zelius says:

      There are people taking this honour thing seriously? Jesus.

    • anonymousity says:

      @ Bilbo
      Reading that thread just waiting for that to come up and it did, huzzah!

  16. fleacircus says:

    Some Minecraft + Quake 3 trivia:

    Jeb from Minecraft did some of the early work on the CPMA mod – including making the CPM4 map ‘Realm Of Steel Rats’ (now a QuakeLive map).

  17. Dawngreeter says:

    This. Is. Awesome.

  18. Premium User Badge Colthor says:

    It would almost be silly (IANAL) for Bethesda not to take them up on it. After all, three guys has to be most of Mojang’s staff – wheras Bethesda probably have more than that working in the canteen. They’ve a huge advantage.

  19. Joe Duck says:

    This is a “Gabe Newell flies to Australia” kind of opportunity for Betheshda. They do not come often.
    Please Betheshda, come on! This can earn you lots and lots and lots of goodwill from the gaming community. It would for sure put your name in the media as a cool and flexible company.
    And Notch… what can I say? He’s a marketing genius.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Exactly, Notch gave Bethesda an amazing choice, either go into a costly patent war that they might not be 100% certain to win or defending their patent another way, with a huge advantage (They are more numerous and even in the event of a loss they don’t really lose anything, contrary to Mojang which loses the name), a way which will also skyrocket their popularity with the gamer’s scene, assuring them more sales in the future. That is not really as silly as it may look.

    • Createx says:

      If Bethesda wins, they´ll let Mojang keep the name out of “goodwill” probably. Simply because accepting the challenge means the saw how silly the lawsuit was.
      Still, this a major opportunity for them.
      And Notch proves again that he is a marketing genius.
      Well done, Mr. Person!

    • Tatourmi says:

      It might even get a little bit worse I think. Bethesda is bound by law to make as much money as they can due to the nature of their company right? Consequently if they decide to go into this costly procedure instead of accepting a marketing boost they are actually betraying their shareholders, which would then be able to sue them for not having accepted Mojang’s terms.

      As far as pretend money goes I think that the potential increase of income from said marketing boost would be far more important (Considering the respective size of Mojang fanbase and the sure mentions the event would get in most mainstream medias) than the potential decrease of income from a game which shares one word on the title that is released after the top selling point of Skyrim, after the period which is supposed to be the “real source of income” for a game, the period in which it is supposed to pay back the development cost.

      Is this even possible? That would be so beautiful.

    • danielfath says:

      @Tatourmi: Wow.. First it’s a trademark issue, not a patent war. And second they are bound by law to defend their trademark, not make money. They are bound to lose money on court expenses if this goes to court. If they don’t someone can make The Elder Scrolls: Defense of the SockDong and say remember that time when they didn’t sue Notch? Now we can do it because you don’t protect your trademark you just want money.

      Notch is really good at manipulating the buzz and this comments just show that. This is isn’t Good(Notch) vs Evil (Bethesda). This is Chaotic(Notch) vs Lawful (Bethesda). If I were Bethedsa I’d simply tell Notch: “Go ask a judge if he will accept duel as a legal way to solve issue. KKTHXBAI”

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      If Bethesda are a public company then they *are* bound by law, or at least by duty, to make as much money as possible for their shareholders. Said shareholders can sue the officers of the company if they don’t believe they’re carried out those duties to the best of their ability.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Thank you FunkyBadger, this is what I was refering to (Even though I just assume that they are a publicly owned company, this is not a certainty) and I’d even say that trademarks are only means to an end, said end being making as much money as possible. If they are not, at a said time, the best mean to secure this income then they lose their sole purpose.

      Now what you said would still hold: It is a long term investment and not defending it would create a precedent. That would be true, but wouldn’t a court consider that they clearly intended to defend their trademark (They did render it public and did show their teeth), and even did so, albeit in an unconventional way (The “duel” is a form of corporate agreement after all, there was another post on the subject)? Wouldn’t a court then reckon that the case was extremely special due to the raw marketing boost and the large public awareness of both products?

      An Asylum-like rip-off (Transmorphers, Snake on a train…) wouldn’t really have a coherent precedent. And any situation which WOULD be a coherent precedent would be O.K, because they will get more money than they would lose and would still have protected their trademark.

      Now as for the good/evil chaotic/lawful: Yes, I do agree, except that I am trying to show that Mojang’s option might be more “lawful” than expected considering the nature of a publicly-owned company, a company which sole purpose is to make as much money as possible.

      (And also, please do not mistake me for a Notch fanboy and do not suggest so in a comment as that might, in my own opinion, be counterproductive)

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Trademark law is different, in that if they don’t defend it they lose it. Having said all that, it depend how active and viscious their shareholders are, but that kind of thing can be used as leverage for all sorts of unpleasantness.

    • danielfath says:

      Have you read Notch’s thoughts on the whole ordeal?

      “We googled it! derp a derp”. If that isn’t Chaotic Clueless I don’t know what is.
      Like a google is a substitute for an IP attorney/knowledge in the matter. And also this will cost them both money which they aren’t earning by keeping Notch down (I’m pretty sure Bethedsa is cool with Notch). This is less about making money and more about maintaining their trademark.

    • Tatourmi says:

      My point was that they probably already showed that they defended their trademark (Which might not be true, I accept that I might be wrong on the matter) and that trademarks are worthless alone (And I won’t go down without a fight on that one however. I cannot see how they could not be) They are a mean, not an end, the true end being earning the monies.

      The obligation of making the monies being, for the company, prior to the obligation of maintaining a trademark, I said that Mojang is actually not really being chaotic on that one, as they are offering a huge sum of pretend money in exchange of the trademark use, in a slightly different way than is usual: a huge marketing boost. They are respecting Bethesda’s priorities.

      I don’t understand your google argument though. I was talking about that specific solution, not the company itself.

      So yeah, I don’t know how to reformulate it anymore so I’ll do a list for the sake of lisibility (I know that my english might not be the best sometimes):
      -This is about making money due to the nature of the company.
      -Notch is actually offering them money to compensate. A lot of it.
      -The trademark might actually be already considered “active”, “defended”. In a future trial (As the case is extremely special, but I am no specialist and cannot guarantee that one, obviously)
      -Any true situation similar to this one will still be profitable to Bethesda (Any situation that might trigger that “precedent”)
      -Mojang’s option is not silly and actually very serious.

      Also add:
      -Bethesda might not win the fight.
      -Extremely good odds in favour of Bethesda on that one.
      -The elder scrolls is not the most valuable trademark for the sale of their products.
      -The asylum never hurt transformer’s DVD sales much.
      -Scroll gets out after Skyrim’s vital period.
      -The two parties have an extreme brand awareness.
      -Win/win proposal.

    • wu wei says:

      I still don’t buy that Bethesda lose their trademark if they don’t defend _single words_ from it, as if it’s the component parts that are important as opposed to the mark as a whole.

      I don’t see the Rage of Mages guys going after iD…

    • danielfath says:

      as they are offering a huge sum of pretend money in exchange of the trademark use

      Riiight. And I tried once paying my bills with Monopoly money… Didn’t work :( either. So basically he is offering them publicity. Bethesda? *chuckle*
      I think he is more offering publicity to himself than to Bethesda. Somehow I don’t think Skyrim will win/fail due to the publicity… It is a solid game and had great publicity (Infinity Dragons!). Notch is just milking the situation.

      @Wei: I havent (yet) found a suitable example; However, there have been trademark disputes over a single letter (like Andy’s vs Randy’s) so that means a dispute over a single word would go in a similar manner. The name of the game is consumer confusion. As I mentioned somewhere else. The emphasis when speaking is on The Elder Scrolls. So if you have asked someone if he played scrolls and they would ask you Elder Scrolls or Notch’s Scrolls that means there is room for consumer confusion.

      In your example the Rage of Mages (unless you are pronouncing it differently) and is unlikely to be confused with Rage. Also keep in mind the makers of Rage of Mages have the right to not sue. Nylon, Aspirin and others didn’t sue when they could have and they lost all right to their trademarks.

  20. Gnoupi says:

    Next letter from Zenimax’s lawyers:

    “You used a product which is the property of Zenimax in an attempt to make publicity.
    The Quake name is registered and belongs to Zenimax.
    Here is a request of 500,000 dollars for illicit use of our property.”

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      He should change the name of Scrolls to Fallout of the Quakescrolls: At the Brink.

    • Silphatos says:

      Fallout of the Hunted Quakescrolls: At the Brink.

      Better :p

    • nemryn says:

      Need to stick ‘Edge’ in there somewhere.

    • TheApologist says:

      How about:
      Fallout of the Hunted Quakescrolls: At the Brink of Rage

    • Joe Duck says:

      Fallout of the Hunted Quakescrolls: At the Brink’s Edge.

      There! Wait, what is a Brink’s Edge?

    • Jesse L says:

      I got that on the summer Steam sale last year but I have this massive backlog of games to play first…prolly never get around to it

  21. Zarunil says:

    Oh how I wish this would become reality!

  22. Jajusha says:

    He’s going to pull out an Oberyn i bet…

  23. ancienttoaster says:

    My sympathies have been more with Bethesda so far—trademark law is use it or lose it, and they’re using this to prove to any future, and more dangerous, challengers that they are serious about protecting their IP—and this childish stunt by Notch does little to sway me. Bethesda isn’t doing this just to be dicks. Any legal proceeding of this magnitude is going to cost both parties huge amounts of money, and while Bethesda is larger than Notch, they’re as reluctant as any company to pour money away in a potentially protracted dispute. This is serious business. Notch ought to grow up and treat it as such.

    • Joe Duck says:

      Man, I work in the intellectual property field and I can assure you that no one involved thinks of copyrights, patents or trademarks as serious business. Expensive, wasteful and subjective, yes.
      Serious, hell no.

    • Sunjammer says:

      +1

      I fear the Minecraft success has gone to his head a little bit. This is the big game, and he’s playing it like a child.

      Joe, it’s great that you know everything about the industry and the intensity by which major brands are protected. I’m pleased to have you here to tell us all how things are, and how everyone sees it.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      @Joe Duck You are correct – Bethesda so have to defend their trademark. You miss an important point. though – there’s nothing to defend here.

      You don’t see Ironclad Games taking Murudai to court because they think “Solar” and “Solar 2″ infringe upon “Sins of a Solar Empire”. Because there’s no need to.

      It’s not even remotely close to a trademark violation. Zenimax is only hurting themselves by doing this.

    • Unaco says:

      Yeah, that’s the way I’ve been feeling about this. It’s NOT that Notch called his game Scrolls… it’s that he tried to Trademark the word Scrolls, in the field of video games. Beth have to protect their mark. Scrolls is a pretty unique word in Video games (not like ‘Space’ or ‘Star’, so those comparisons aren’t fair)… TES is the only one I can think of. If they let this pass, it could open them up to challenges (more serious ones) in the future. It would set precedent.

      To be honest though, I can’t believe, when Notch first chose the name Scrolls, and realised he’d have to Trademark it (does he HAVE to?), no one said to him that this would likely cause friction with TES. If they had, then he could have changed the name. Which would be good, because Scrolls is a terrible name for a game.

    • Persus-9 says:

      @ancienttoaster: That doesn’t seem right to me. Notch is saying he’ll either drop the name or has to beat them at Quake for it. That will surely amount to a use under license since he’ll have conceded Bethesda have the right to demand something (in this case they’ll have settled for betting the rights on a game of Quake) for his use so Bethesda needn’t be conceding their copyright by accepting this and so won’t be in risk of losing it to every Tom, Dick and Harry who chooses to use it. The devil is in the contract they draw up but nothing in Notch’s post suggests he’s after anything but usage rights.

      It may seem flippant but it isn’t the first time a serious business matter has been settled by contest. There was a case a few years ago that the BBC covered at the time where two competing companies settled a dispute by Rock, Paper, Scissors.

    • Joe Duck says:

      @Sunjammer: You’re welcome! :-)
      I will not go on a rant about intellectual property as even saying how boring it is is extremely boring in itself.
      Notch has proposed a way to settle the dispute that is public, harmless and surprise, surprise, fun. But somehow, the fact that no huge amount of money is not part of that settlement makes it “not serious” and “childish”. After all, it is one part of a dispute simply proposing an agreement. Lawyers do this hundreds of times every year and it is usually considered very serious and grown up stuff. May I please be further illuminated on what the difference is? Please?
      Edit: Specially taking into account Persus-9′s very valid remarks…

    • Mctittles says:

      It seems likely Notch created this problem as a marketing strategy. Before he trademarked the name “Scrolls” he was practically begging Bethseda to come after him. At the time, nearly every mention of his new scrolls game he was also talking about the upcoming Skyrim. Then he set release dates to be on the same date as Skyrim release. When all of that didn’t work, he trademarked it and finally got a lawsuit.

      This is a way for Notch to get more articles written about him and still come out looking like a hero. I suspected this before the Quake stunt and this makes it even more likely.

    • TheApologist says:

      @Mctittles

      Seriously? That is one of the more hilarious conspiracies in an internet comments thread. a) Notch has hardly had difficulty drumming up publicity for his products. b) if he was having such trouble, I doubt his strategy would be to deliberately pick a fight with a very large and well resourced company. c) Even if you think this was a predictable problem, remember the collective response to Bethesda’s move at first was not ‘told you so’ but ‘buh?! Why would this be a problem’. It’s hardly implausible that a small company with limited experience in intellectual property management would fail to see this coming.

      Also, since when was fun to be equated with childishness, and just as important, when did childishness become a bad thing? Let a little levity and silliness into your lives!

    • ancienttoaster says:

      @JoeDuck: I agree that large amounts of intellectual property law are silly, and frankly broken. Software patents, the pitifully small size of fair use exemptions, and others—these are ridiculous, and need reform. However, in my admittedly small experience, trademark law seems far more reasonable and logical.

      And what’s “childish” about this? It’s childish in the sense that Notch is acting as tho Bethesda has the same amount on the line as he does. That’s untrue. Bethesda has a multi-million selling, 17-year-old franchinse in need of protection. Notch has an unreleased game. Bethesda is doing what, under current copyright law, they have to do in order to preserve their trademark: Defend it in court. Settling a major trademark dispute by a videogame contest does not set a great precedent in this area.

      EDIT: @TheApologist: Agreed that mctittles conspiracy is totally ridiculous, altho I still think Notch is acting childish for reasons I’ve stated above.

    • Premium User Badge Nogo says:

      It’s childish because Notch is officially running with the big dogs now, but he’s still treating his business like it’s a one man operation that only pushes a few thousand units. In his own words the only research he did into his trademark petition was googling “scrolls.” That’s just beyond asinine and stupid and even the worst lawyer would tell you to do more research than that.

      Now Notch has put Beth into an awkward situation where they probably don’t want to act, but are legally required to do so and his solution is a potentially illegal gambling challenge.

      It’s great that he’s this open, accessible guy trying to shake things up, but he needs to start taking his decisions seriously. Your legal team can’t be google search, nomsayin?

    • Big Daddy Dugger says:

      This is SERIOUS business. Trust me… I’m a professional.

    • counting says:

      There is evidence and paper trails to indicate that Notch didn’t just google it as he claimed.
      http://esearch.oami.europa.eu/copla/trademark/data/009728321/download/I_TM_0007525280

      Before filing any trademark, there is a process of search, which clearly indicated that Notch is well aware of it’s potential opposition from Berthesda(Zenimax) since 2/14/11 6 months ago. Notch tried to play the game under the table, but now he wanted to play a high gamble/risk high reward game under the spotlight. Be careful Notch, what you said and done are all recorded nowadays.

  24. magnus says:

    They should call his bluff and challenge him to a cock-joust.

  25. rustybroomhandle says:

    Trademark law says they have to defend their trademark. As far as I know it does not specify “in court”. So yeah, to battle!

  26. nihlus says:

    Notch should just get Fox and Tox to play for him :)
    Easy win.

  27. Sunjammer says:

    Dunno if Notch realizes how fucked he is going up against Bethesda. This isn’t going to end well for him. I don’t know why they haven’t come up with an alternate title yet.

    I’m 100% on Bethesda’s’ side here, obviously. Intentional or not he’s aligning himself with their brand.

    • Askeladd says:

      Why not make notchs game a standalone sold outside Skyrim and a minigame addon for elderscrolls. You can visit the taverns and play a round of “Scrolls” lol.

      I dont know how “cardy” his card game is, but wouldnt it add another fun layer to a game series that never offered much in that regard?

      Would be good for both I’d suggest.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I support baby eaters. The babies are obviously aligning themselves with delicious foods, which they should stop if they want baby eaters to not eat them anymore.

      Merely protecting their rights and so forth.

    • TheApologist says:

      Even if you think there is merit to Bethesda’s case, it doesn’t at all follow that Notch is aligning himself with their brand. That phrasing implies an intentionality to his action that has been clearly denied, and there is no evidence to suggest there is reason to disbelieve him.

    • UnravThreads says:

      TheApologist; The thing is, at least where I’m sitting, is that Notch doesn’t exactly help himself. I’m not one of those people who follows his every move, I don’t care if he’s taking a dump or if he’s doing Minecraft, I don’t even care about Minecraft, but if you look over recent news stories with him in that aren’t related to this, he’s clearly a fan of theirs and is excited by their upcoming release.

      The point is that any innocence on his part is just not there. He knows about The Elder Scrolls, he should have known about trademark laws and situations, and everything he says isn’t helping his case at all. This is something Bethesda’s lawyers and Notch/Mojang’s lawyers need to fight over. He should, in my opinion, keep quiet and wait for this to end.

    • TheApologist says:

      @UnravThreads

      I can totally accept an argument that says there is some level of incompetence on Mojang’s part for not seeing a dispute from Bethesda coming. And even that a bit more humility on Notch’s part might be in order.

      But I think that is a distance from what some seem to be arguing which are variously that Bethesda have somehow been attacked, that the dispute was preplanned for the purposes of publicity, that it was obvious to anyone familiar with gaming that harm would be done to the ElderScrolls brand etc. I don’t see that any of those things are apparent at all.

      Perhaps most importantly I don’t accept that anyone outside of some lawyers should be taking this seriously. Consumers would not be harmed or confused by both products existing as currently named. No real human wanting to buy games for entertainment would get ripped off. I accept a possible harm to Bethesda in the future defence of their brands if they let this go, of course, but the stupidity of the law is neither Mojang’s nor Bethesda’s fault. It is clearly a daft situation, so, when Notch treats it as daft, I’m inclined to think it’s fair enough.

    • Premium User Badge Nogo says:

      Saying no one would be confused by the two, on a videogame blog, is missing the forest for the trees.

      The fricken homepage for Scrolls has a woman, dressed like someone out of TES conjuring magic exactly the way TES does and next to her is a burly warrior dude wielding a hammer and shield. And you’re telling me someone who only knows about TES from commercials would have no problem distinguishing the two?

      It’s not outright infringement, but Scrolls isn’t set in space, now is it?

    • wu wei says:

      Good grief, so now Bethesda own generic fantasy tropes?

    • JackShandy says:

      If bethseda’s copyrighted mages and Fighters then Notch is in bigger shit than I thought.

      I can believe how fast people swung from “What? How is this even a thing?” to “This was so obvious that notch must be an idiot not to see it coming.”

  28. aircool says:

    I would absolutely watch this! Especially if the lawyers ragequit.

  29. Quizboy says:

    He’s letting them walk all over him! The conditions for a Mojang win should’ve been Bethesda changing the Elder Scrolls series’ name to something Notch is fine with. Especially if he then made them change it to something that infringed someone else. Like World of Warcraft. Or Mirrors (A Game By) Edge.

  30. Skeletor68 says:

    This would be the most amazing thing ever but I guess precedent is dangerous. Bethesda really need to wrap this up though because I think Notch’s humour is gonna give them negative spin either way.

  31. sokkur says:

    Hopes Pop Cap see this.

  32. mjig says:

    Here’s an opportunity for Bethesda to become a company people actually love instead of hate for ruining Elder Scrolls and making Fallout 3. Naturally, they won’t take it.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      How on earth are they ruining TES? It’s their game. They created the series and can do whatever they want with it.

    • wearedevo says:

      @Gaytard
      So how do you feel about George Lucas and the Star Wars prequels then?
      Just because someone is entitled to ruin something, doesn’t mean they haven’t ruined it.

      Oblivion is to Daggerfall as Attack of the Clones is to Empire Strikes Back

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I thought Daggerfall was more of a Star Wars (fresh and ambitious, but flawed), with Morrowind as Jedi. They haven’t made anything quite as good as Empire.

  33. Simon Hawthorne says:

    Just F5in’, waiting for the UPDATE:…

  34. Starky says:

    You know as much as I love Minecraft, I really hope Bethesda crush notch in court because he is acting like a fucking child.

    This is a billion dollar trademark for Bethesda – of course they are not going to have a sense of humour about someone trying to steal it out from under them (which is exactly what notch is doing).

    Notch is acting like a childish forum troll, and it is fucking sad that the gaming community support him in his behaviour.

    • Soon says:

      It can only be that he doesn’t realise why they’re doing this. I don’t know if that’s through naivety or ignorance but it’s obvious they can’t let a trademark for the word “Scrolls” exist for the potentially massive impact it could have in the future.

    • TheApologist says:

      Why would you hope for that? What an odd thing to hope for.

      It’s not really sad that the community think Notch’s suggestion was funny, because they probably live in world where they realise the negative impact on Bethesda would be minimal if it weren’t for the stupidity of law covering intellectual property.

      It’s possible to accept that Bethesda’s lawyers feel they have to do this to protect Bethesda’s interests in the current framework of law, AND to think that what Notch has suggested is, y’know, funny.

    • Vinraith says:

      He may be acting like a child, and clearly in the wrong for that matter, but he’s playing his PR hand fairly well. All you have to do is look at this thread.

      Notch has to know he can’t actually win this thing legally, he’s clearly trying to wring as much positive press out of it as possible.

    • Tei says:

      @Starky At first, my opinion was like yours. But A. I am not a lawyer. B. There are legal precedents. Both companies will save money, and generate good PR with this. This is a problem for both companies, if theres a solution that is very cheap, it will be good for both companies. Hope the Bethesda lawyers agree, .. maybe see flaws in the plan, and will disagree with it.

    • wengart says:

      Gamers supporting Notch isn’t sad. It makes sense.

      One he is a likable person whereas Bethesda is a faceless company so they can identify with him. And on top of that they aren’t copyright lawyers and I doubt very many have a grasp of copyright law (I know I have only the feeblest hold upon it)

      Two most gamers are sitting at their computers thinking “what the hell is Beth suing Notch for? They don’t even use the words Elder Scrolls.” Shortly afterwards they dig out their Oblivion case and see the words The Elder Scrolls printed on it and think “well damn I guess they do use those words.” Seriously I know no one who is excited for the next Elder Scrolls game but a whole lot of people who are falling over themselves trying to get a hold of Skyrim. I can’t even refer to the series as The Elder Scrolls series because people will have no idea what the hell I’m talking about.

      Third. Back in the land of commonsense no one is going to be confused about Skyrim and Scrolls.

      And in the land of copyright law I don’t see how it’s a big deal when Microsoft Office, Open Office, Office Depot, and The Office all coexist without issue. This is essentially the same thing.

    • Big Daddy Dugger says:

      Mr. Grumpidumps has arrived.

  35. magnus says:

    They can win easily, all they need to do is knock his hat off by’ accident’ and swap it for a bigger one, he’ll be so distracted trying to push it out of his eyes he’ll fail every time!

  36. Trurl says:

    Please, please, let this actually happen. It would be the most awesome thing ever, no matter who wins. Court cases are soul crushing, but a trials by battle are uplifting. Do it!

  37. Freud says:

    They better not play the remake of Q2DM1 (The Edge) or Tim Langdell will have all their arses.

  38. westyfield says:

    Spoiler alert: Tyrion demands a trial by battle in The Eyrie.

    • Berzee says:

      Game of Thrones spoiler alert is like Twilight spoiler alert

      it will never affect me

      edit: nevertheless my sympathies to anyone it did

  39. Cim says:

    Quake 3. It’s the civilized thing to do.

  40. Urthman says:

    Notch is absolutely the clueless villain here. Trademarking a generic word like “Scrolls” is a dick move, like trademarking “Edge.”

    Seriously. If he were granted this trademark he would be in the position to be a trademark troll just like Tim Langdell. He needs to grow up and pick a name like “Scrolls of Minecraftia” or something.

    • johnpeat says:

      That is pretty much on-the-ball IMO

      As I understand it, Mojang are attempting to Trademark a common word – this is generally Trademark-Troll behaviour…

      As they’re producing a game called ‘Scrolls’, they arguably don’t need to trademark it (Trademarks don’t work like Patents – you can contest people copying your product name whether or not you’ve trademarked it previously).

      I’d suggest whilst this idea may sound savvy, it does cover-up slightly dodgy behaviour on Mojang’s behalf AND it suggests they don’t realise what it is they’re actually doing.

    • johnpeat says:

      Apart from the obvious massive PR angle of course – knowing that gamers would back him blindly this could just be a massive stunt.

      As many people have said, he’s unlikely to be granted the Trademark anyway.

      No-one is saying he can’t call the game “Scrolls” (that’s a separate argument) – just that he can’t “own” the word when it comes to gaming…

    • wu wei says:

      Yes, clearly only absolute assholes trademark common single words for their software.

      Imagine how intellectually locked up the world would become if trademarks could apply to words everyone uses, like ‘rage’, or ‘brink’, or ‘dirt’, or ‘apple’.

    • JackShandy says:

      Or “Quake”.

  41. deadly.by.design says:

    To the death!

  42. Keilnoth says:

    The outcome a this could be positive marketing for both side as well… Just bring the TV with you and name both games and company everywhere.

  43. ArcaneSaint says:

    Regardless to the outcome of this potential battle, just going through with it would be one of the best publicity stunts Bethesda could wish for. If they were to hold their tournament in a big hall, filled with Bethesda (and Mojang) merchandise/stands and sell tickets to watch the game life and meet the teams and such, they’d make a lot more money than they would by suing Mojang.

    And don’t forget that this would boost their image tremendously, they’d be regarded as the most awesome developer/publisher ever. Their fans (and subsequently, sales) would skyrocket.

  44. Jake says:

    Just rename it Scrollz already.

  45. TheApologist says:

    I reckon Bethesda should realise the possibility of some great PR being handed to them here.

  46. Jackablade says:

    Given that Bethesda and id are both under the same banner these days, one might expect them to be able to cherry-pick a pretty impressive team. I dare say the Mojang boys might have their work cut out for them.

    • Kdansky says:

      Exactly the point. Notch will concede the trademark anyway if his only choice is the court. This gives him a slim chance, and a huge PR stunt. Worst case, he gets great PR. Best case, he keeps the name on top of that. For Bethesda, either choice is risky (bad press vs not winning in court). If he had offered to play a non-id game instead, it would be like me asking you for a round of Guilty Gear Accent Core, which I’m quite good at but you’ve probably never heard of.

      Hats off to notch, this is a really great PR stunt.

    • Urthman says:

      I can’t find a link, but Valve employees once challenged PC Gamer staff to a TF2 match. The Valve employees came out fighting with hilariously overpowered weapons that were so over-the-top that the PC Gamer staff felt more entertained than cheated.

      It would be fantastic if Bethesda got id to pull something like that against Mojang.

  47. Perjoss says:

    I think people should stop debating whether this will happen and instead start debating which map they will fight on and who gets to control the rocket launcher / red armour room!

  48. dontnormally says:

    It’s a PR stunt.

  49. Vinraith says:

    Right, and if they lose the match they have to rename their flagship series. I’m sure they’ll get right on that. Clever PR stunt by Notch, playing the sympathy card despite having thrown the first punch.

    In other news, what kind of twit tries to trademark the word “Scrolls?”

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Right, and if they lose the match they have to rename their flagship series.

      No, that’s bullshit. The two marks can coexist without issue, like say, Hero and HeroQuest. If Bethesda had come up with “The Elder Scrolls” only after “Scrolls” was trademarked, they could have a problem, but that’s very obviously not the case here.

      In other news, what kind of twit tries to trademark the word “Scrolls?”

      Presumably the same kind of twit who trademarks Word, Windows, Apple, Amazon, Office (which by the by doesn’t prevent LibreOffice, OpenOffice, StarOffice, etc from existing)…do I need to go on? This is absolutely nothing new or controversial.

    • Blackseraph says:

      What kind of twit sues for infringement over a word they haven’t actually trademarked? Eh?

      Can’t believe some people are actually siding with Bethesda here.

      You were huge supporter of Tim Langdell as well were you not? There is nothing different in these two cases.

    • danielfath says:

      @Blackseraph: The same twit that tries to trademark a generic term apparently (i.e. Notch).
      The Elder Scrolls is an RPG. Further more the emphasis is on the Scrolls. To make matters worse Notch knows of TES. If Notch didn’t trymake it an RPG or didn’t name it Scrolls there would be no ground for confusion. He didn’t. He got sued. And his defense was that “googling for Scrolls” didn’t show it was taken (Note: It’s the second or 12th google result depending on person) … Lol. Because Internet knows best…
      EDIT: In a meta example even I don’t know best.

      Bethedsa only needs to prove game name is in the same scope as theirs is similar to theirs and that Notch knew of they are called The Elder Scrolls. Bam, case closed. Trademark law is weird but it is such for a reason. Notch didn’t do his homework and now wants to play a Quake match for a better grade. That only works in movies.

    • GrandmaFunk says:

      If Notch didn’t make it an RPG

      it’s not an RPG, it’s a collectible card game.

    • Blackseraph says:

      You shouldn’t talk about homework daniel, if you haven’t done them yourself.

      Edit. anyway since scrolls isn’t rpg we seem to agree that Bethesda lawsuit is frivolous since there is not any grounds for confusion here. :)

      Glad we agree.

    • danielfath says:

      My bad scope doesn’t figure in it. And I really did look RPG-like. What can I say, IANAL however this guy an Engineer that had run ins with trademark laws:

      Here is are excerpts:

      Trademarks are all about strength. Strength is gained from uniqueness (that is the more generic the term the weaker any claim for trademark becomes – trademarks have actually been lost due to becoming generic terms), market share and finally chronology (who applied for, and used the TM first).

      In “Big Mac” Mac is the strongest term, in “Mickey Mouse” it is clearly Mickey. Companies could get away with calling a burger “Big *Something*” – say the “Big Beefer”, Just like you could name a character “*Something* Mouse”. So long as it didn’t sound like Mac or Mickey – John Mouse would be fine, Michael Mouse” wouldn’t.

      In “The Elder Scrolls” that defining term is clearly Scrolls.

      Pre-notch, any mention of Scrolls + Game would automatically associate with Bethesda products, and I can only fine 1 game that is not an Elder Scrolls game with scroll/s in the title, a small word/puzzle game, and I seriously doubt they applied to gain a trademark for it.

      So the second issue is market share, or brand/company association. Simply put courts have been known to grant usage to a company who came second to market (as in another company trademarked a name first) but became the clear market leader, due to the sheer weight of association with that company and their products. A fictional example (though not totally fictional in the case of gmail in the UK) is if someone had a business called “google” that pre-dated Google. One involved in computing and the internet somehow, but relativity unknown – a court may rule that this little unknown brand would suffer no harm from having to change name and grant rights to big G, Google – no matter which came first.

      So in this case, Bethesda came first, have the stronger brand (notch has zero brand strength yet) and market share. They clearly should be the ones to own “scrolls” in the video game market.

      Ok seraph I did my homework, now prove me wrong.

    • Blackseraph says:

      Since your guy is not a judge, his opinion is worth absolutely nothing.

      Only way we would know which one is correct here is if this went to a court, and real proper judge would rule.

      And Notch actually have brand strength, just type Scrolls in google, his game is first.

      Also elder scrolls games are not known as such, they are known as morrowind, oblivion and skyrim, by a vast majority of people.

    • danielfath says:

      *Sigh*
      Such a nice beefy post wasted.

      True he is not a judge but that is not a qualification for an argument. You too are not a judge yet are siding with Notch based on some emotional preference instead of law. So burden of proof is on your side…

      Let’s see your argument

      And Notch actually have brand strength, just type Scrolls in google, his game is first.

      A) Google is not a measurement of brand strenght. It’s measure of popularity/linking which articles like these have hugely increased.
      B) Take a random sample of people (take a few without internet for instance) and ask them about Scrolls. How many will associate it with TES as opposed to Notch’s Scrolls? Keep in mind it’s not people you know. It has to be random. I know if I asked my friends they’d pretty much all say TES.
      C) It’s not just brand recognition, it’s also market share and TES have enormous market share.
      D) Second result is elderscrolls.com for me :P

    • Blackseraph says:

      I admitted that only way we would know, who is correct is if judge would rule, not enough for you?

      And no burden of proof is not on me here nor it is on Notch, it is on bethesda and your side since they are the ones doing the suing.

      Your friends actually calls tes games as scrolls, instead of their better known names?

      Market share is also irrelevant here, since scrolls and elder scrolls are completely different games. Other is card game other rpg. So people who buy them are different demographics. These two games are not targeted to same people.

      There is prior legal battle about this. Its called Tim Langdell, he was laughed out of court while trying same argument bethesda is giving here. But yes I see Bethesda being moronic bully here who is trying to bully smaller developer to give up name for their game with frivolous lawsuits.

      I am also fully allowed to do so. You can’t be 100% certain Bethesda would win this lawsuit.

      Edit. you said in your first post that there would be no confusion between elder scrolls and scrolls if they weren’t both rpgs. Well since they aren’t do you still stand by that statement? Or do you now disagree with yourself and still think there would be confusion between the titles?

    • danielfath says:

      And no burden of proof is not on me here nor it is on Notch, it is on bethesda and your side since they are the ones doing the suing.

      Lol, you’re equating me and Bethedsa. And I already gave my proof, now it’s your time. Ball is in your court so to speak.

      Market share is also irrelevant here, since scrolls and elder scrolls are completely different games. Other is card game other rpg. So people who buy them are different demographics. These two games are not targeted to same people.

      Please read what I wrote. It considers the market share of your exisiting products even if one is a game and the other is a sock puppet. Notch has naught. Bethedsa has a widely popular and acclaimed RPG series.

      Your friends actually calls tes games as scrolls, instead of their better known names?

      No. That’s not the point. Scrolls first evoked one of the TES games. It just needs to do that. It’s consumer recognition, not consumer speak. Otherwise Assassin Creed would need to change it’s trademark to AssCreed.

      There is prior legal battle about this. Its called Tim Langdell, he was laughed out of court while trying same argument bethesda is giving here. But yes I see Bethesda being moronic bully here who is trying to bully smaller developer to give up name for their game with frivolous lawsuits.

      Well that would be a nice point, IF both weren’t game names instead of game name versus studio name. And if Notch wasn’t trying to trademark a more generic title.

      I am also fully allowed to do so. You can’t be 100% certain Bethesda would win this lawsuit.

      I don’t see how they could lose, I remember Notch saying something along the lines that he enjoyed TES. Just going from that point it would trivially to prove that he:
      A) knew of TES
      B) googling Scrolls yields TES as one of the first
      C) Notch knows naught of trademark laws
      From this it would be easy for judge to award trademark to Bethesda.

      EDIT: No, I was wrong, that’s why I changed it. Beth needs to protect it’s trademark from similarly sounding trademarks. E.G. Apple Corps vs Apple Computers had trademarks dispute even if former is in music business while latter was (until recently) in computer manufacturing business.

    • Blackseraph says:

      You gave nothing.

      You just quoted some engineer, who indeed isn’t judge nor even lawyer, that isn’t proof it is an opinion.

      Anyway, Notch could win very easily here, he just would have to proof that there is no confusion in average gamers mind in his Scrolls and Tes, because that is all Bethesda infringement claim is about.

      But I am tired of this conversation. I disagree with you and we should agree to disagree here, since continuing this conversation would be useless. And indeed you seem to be modifiying your opinions to suit your needs.

    • danielfath says:

      Sorry but I have to correct you. It was an Engineer that had to deal with trademark laws in particularly. And I asked you to give me some more concrete proof than “I’d like to see what a judge thinks…” (which is far fetched because a judge giving his opinion on the matter would be in no condition to judge in the matter). I mean is there an IP lawyer out there that thinks Notch’s case might succeed? Could he present these arguments? Or a lawyer that could be used as his hypothetical arguments? Barrier for counter argument is pretty low IMO. That Edge Games vs Edge was a nice example but flawed since it seems Edge Games were overzealous (nothing states a company called Wind Walker has exclusive right to Wind * games).

    • Starky says:

      Just as a note, that Engineer was me.

      And while I do know my way around trademarks (less so than patents which are more important in engineering), I’d be the first to admit that I’m not an IP lawyer – I deal with a lawyer who turns my plain English into legalese as I am not fluent.

      And yes that post was just my (somewhat educated) opinion. I’d not hold up an an expert witness on the subject.

      Still, notch could not win, not without spending millions and a lot of luck (wiping out any profit from the game) – It’s a billion dollar trademark for Bethesda, they’ll take it all the way to European court if they have too – where Notch will stand no chance. Some Swedish judge might swing towards the local dev against the international business, but the EU court won’t.

  50. BunnyPuncher says:

    Its a good stunt…. but thats all it is.

    Notch is not in a position of strength and he knows it. He is playing for a win/win scenario that either he gets a load of positive PR (and threatens Bethesda with negative PR) or he gets a shot at retaining a name that normally he wouldnt have any right to (technically, lets not argue about if trademark law is fair). While its a good trick I have some sypmathy for bethesda – they are potentially choosing between losing a trademark or getting bad press and its through no fault of their own.

    • Blackseraph says:

      Bethesda has not trademarked Scrolls you know. Have you not heard of that Edge dude?

      And this is already win/win for notch good pr, and stories in news.

      And lose/lose for bethesda, they have proven they are morons and are also humorless bricks. This is already pr disaster for them, and they are not doing themselves any favors by going on with this crap.

    • danielfath says:

      Is this true? Bethesda hasn’t trademarked “The Elder Scrolls” in Sweden (or wherever Mojang is)?

    • Premium User Badge Nogo says:

      Seraph, stop and do some research then return, please.

      When you trademark something all the words within it are part of that trademark. So yes, Beth has trademarked Scrolls and as daniel so competently showed (and you ignored because a legal opinion is only good if it comes from a judge apparently) it’s the strongest term in their trademark.

    • wu wei says:

      Nogo, please provide evidence of this claim that registering a multi-word trademark applies protection to the individual words.

      A trademark is a distinctive sign to represent a product or service. It’s the WHOLE of the trademark that’s relevant.

      The claim that Bethesda somehow owns ‘scrolls’ as part of the TES mark is as batshit crazy as saying they own ‘the’.

    • danielfath says:

      @Wei: It isn’t crazy if it would create consumer confusion. Trademark laws are created to lessen the confusion. If few weeks ago I were to say an amazing Scrolls game is coming out 11/11/11, which one would it be? TES:Skyrim or Scrolls? See? Consumer confusion.