Bethesda has lodged a complaint with Swedish courts against Minecraft creator Mojang over a trademark filing earlier this year. The trademark is for the title, “Scrolls,” which Bethesda feels is an infringement on their trademark for, “The Elder Scrolls.” The entire drama is laid out in a post on the blog of Mojang founder Markus “Notch” Persson.
Notch explains that after filing for the trademark, Mojang was contacted by lawyers representing Bethesda who desired more information about the filing and suggested the potential conflict. Mojang attempted to strike compromise at some point in their communication (though Notch seems unclear as to when) but negotiations seem to have fallen through. Today, Mojang received notification from Bethesda’s attorneys that paperwork and fees have been filed to move the trademark complaint forward.
This almost certainly isn’t about preventing Mojang from releasing their game under the name, “Scrolls.” Far more likely, it’s an effort by Bethesda to protect their trademark in the long term. By filing the suit, they’re demonstrating that they have attempted to enforce the legitimacy of their claim to the trademark. This creates a paper trail which they can point to as evidence to support later trademark disputes, showing that they have defended their rights.
In other words, Bethesda — and its parent company, Zenimax — is possibly not a horrible, evil company who wants to keep the indie developer down by drowning them in unnecessary litigation or demanding total control over common words and phrases (in this particular case).