Not exactly unexpectedly, about four hours ago Markus "Notch" Persson -- creator of Minecraft
and head of Mojang Specifications -- received a letter from a Swedish law firm representing Bethesda Softworks. It claimed that his company's trademark of the word "Scrolls" for use with a currently-in-development game
was infringing on Bethesda's own trademark, "The Elder Scrolls
," and requested "a pile of money up front" before things could proceed. But Notch could've guessed it was coming.
Writing on his Tumblr page, Notch explains that "about half a year ago," his company's legal team suggested registering "Minecraft" as a trademark. In the process, Mojang also filed to register "Scrolls," killing two birds with one stone. Notch writes that "A while later, out of the blue, we got contacted by Bethesda's lawyers. They wanted to know more about the 'Scrolls' trademark we were applying for, and claimed it conflicted with their existing trademark 'The Elder Scrolls.'" At the time, Mojang responded by offering what Notch calls a compromise: "We'd agree to never put any words in front of 'Scrolls,' and instead call sequels and other things something along the lines of 'Scrolls - The Banana Expansion.'" In his piece, he says that he's not sure if Mojang ever heard back.
Fast-forward to this afternoon, and a "15-page letter" from a Swedish law firm, on behalf of Bethesda, arrives for Notch (pictured above). He says it's threatening a lawsuit if Mojang refuses "to stop using the name 'Scrolls,'" and that Bethesda will sue should that be necessary. Regardless of the current situation, Notch notes at the top of his piece, "I love Bethesda. I assume this nonsense is partly just their lawyers being lawyers, and a result of trademark law being the way it is." Here's hoping that compromise works out, and Notch is somehow legally bound to name the first Scrolls
DLC "The Banana Expansion."
This piece was originally headlined "Minecraft studio being sued by Bethesda over 'Scrolls' title," and has since been amended to more accurately reflect the situation.