It looks like Mojang and Bethesda have settled their differences over the title of Mojang’s new game “Scrolls.” Back in August, Bethesda’s legal team sent Mojang a 15 page letter advising them that their name of their new game “Scrolls” infringed on Bethesda’s trademarked “Elder Scrolls,” essentially advising them to change the name of their game. While it seems strange to think that Mojang’s digital card game has anything in common with Bethesda’s open-world dragon-slaying RPG besides the use of a noun, Notch at Mojang chalked it up to “lawyers being lawyers” in August.
The settlement itself sounds simple enough, at least the summed-up version Notch left on his Twitter page today; Bethesda keeps their trademark and Mojang gets to keep the name as long as they don’t make an Elder Scrolls competitor using the name. Sure, there are probably a lot more provisions and clauses, at least if you consider the length of the original letter they sent, but at its surface this seems like a pretty rational agreement for everyone involved.
Despite all this, Notch doesn’t seem to have a problem with Bethesda; when he Tweeted about “lawyers being lawyers” he also squeezed in “I still <3 Bethesda.” Not a bad sport for someone who was just “taken to court.” Given how large Mojang has become, Notch most likely understands the difference between the developers who make the games and the companies that run them, understanding the typical knee-jerk reaction from lawyers at the first whiff of nothing.
It is good to see two companies come together for a mutually beneficial arrangement. As we have seen in the past some individuals act like giant rampaging toddlers when they feel something is theirs. I think it makes much more sense economically and morally for disagreeing parties to make a unified decision in order to protect the interests of both parties. Turns out game developers have the capability of using the legal system more rationally than most, who would have thought.