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Default Bethesda Softworks - Legal Moves Against Notch?

August 7th, 2011, 04:40
You guys all act as if it is a bunch of guys in the room for bethesda say hey lets get this notch guy, when in reality it is their legal department that is in charge of this. Bethesda isn't just a few guys sitting in a basement…they are a large company.

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August 7th, 2011, 14:06
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
You guys all act as if it is a bunch of guys in the room for bethesda say hey lets get this notch guy, when in reality it is their legal department that is in charge of this. Bethesda isn't just a few guys sitting in a basement…they are a large company.
True, and I wonder how Bethesda as a whole will react now that, clearly, everyone is informed.

On a side note, there are so many games available today that I did not get around to play yet, that I can well afford waiting until Skyrim has dropped in price. If they choose to be bullies, it does not really cost me anything to wait longer even though I originally intended buying for full price just to support them as one of the few good RPG developers.

Anyway, I am still optimistic that this will not be the end of it and Bethesda will call back their slightly overzealous lawyers. A good company image is still important, fortunately, and ironically, their overprotectiveness will probably cost Bethesda more than the imagined trademark infringement ever could have.
Last edited by coyote; August 7th, 2011 at 14:20.
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August 8th, 2011, 17:28
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
You guys all act as if it is a bunch of guys in the room for bethesda say hey lets get this notch guy, when in reality it is their legal department that is in charge of this.
Okay, then it is their legal department that says "hey let's get this notch guy".

Is there any difference, practically ?

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August 8th, 2011, 22:35
Bethesda are making fools of themselfs. Just take their case against Interplay which is a lot stronger. Still they get their ass kicked. They won't fare any better in the swedish court system with this flimsy case.

In the meantime I believe we as gamers should do our part and help dissuade Zenimax from pursuing this case. Whenever one of their assets (bethesda, id software, arkane studios, and more) is mentioned in the news, we should be there to remind people of what kind of company we're dealing with here.
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August 8th, 2011, 23:03
I imagine there will be some lively debates going on at Bethesda right now. If they are smart they will quickly settle for an agreement with notch out of court.

BTW: this thread fucks up on IE - it loads normally, then suddenly I only see the flamethrower guy animation a few posts up, then the page goes blank with an "error on page" message. I could only post here by manually stopping the page loading process.
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August 9th, 2011, 00:17
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
BTW: this thread fucks up on IE - it loads normally, then suddenly I only see the flamethrower guy animation a few posts up,
Works fine on my end (FF).
Anyway, deleted my profound contribution .
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August 14th, 2011, 12:20
Apologies for reviving an old threat. I just read Notch's explanation of the whole thing, and it appears that they tried to register "Scrolls" as a trademark:

http://notch.tumblr.com/post/8519901…the-full-story

This, I just did not know before, and in my eyes it changes the story a little. In addition to that, Bethesda's lawyers had contacted Notch before sending in the swedish law firm, at which point Notch decided to insist on the trademark and provide a somewhat flimsy compromise. Only at that point Bethesda's lawyers reacted by legal enforcement of their trademark. I am not an expert in trademark law, but it may well be that they have to do this in order to prevent removal of the "The Elder Scrolls" trademark from the register.

I kinda understand Notches position, too, and Bethesda should have replied to their attempt to compromise in my opinion, but seriously: they insisted on the option to sue others for using the word "scrolls" even after being warned by Bethesda. It may well be that they win the case since/if "The Elder Scrolls" and "Scrolls" are not in conflict, but they cannot expect Bethesda to sit idly by or abide by some strange compromise they just made up. Personally, I hope that Notch cannot trademark "Scrolls", just as I think that noone should have been able to trademark "Windows" or "Apple" or any other single word in common usage.
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August 14th, 2011, 12:38
I'm sure Bethesda will lose this case if it ever goes to court. J.K. Rowling borrowed, stole, or was inspired by the word 'muggler' in another author's books. The other author, not J.K. Rowling, lost the case. The other author insisted that she had copyright and trademark rights to the word 'muggler.' The English Court did not see it this way.

And while, Sweden and Denmark do validate the US copyrigts and trademarks laws, there are still some differences in the trademark and copyrights laws in these countries when they are compared with the trademarks and copyrights laws of the US…

As for trademarking Windows or Apple, is it not so that it is the whole -ahem- background of these corporations e.g. it is not the word windows or apple themselves that are trademarked, but also the organisation and the machinery behind them so to speak?

And to me, The Elder Scrolls, and Scrolls, are two different words and sentences - that also have two different meanings. And let's be clear here: No one, or nobody, ever calls Bethesda games anything other than Oblivion, Morrowind, or Skyrim. We know what they are, they're rpgs. I don't think that Notch's next game is going to be an rpg…

So, does this mean, with the explanation given in the above post, that Notch insisted on having an option to sue other people that uses the word 'scrolls' too? Gee, what is this world coming too. And this must mean that Bethesday now are afraid that Notch will sue them for infringement of their trademark…

Why not just let Notch and Todd sit down over a pint of ale and solve this? Save the money for lawyers to money for game development…

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August 14th, 2011, 12:48
For software you can even find the same word used on as many as 3-4 sub-genres. If anything, this just shows it was smart move of Notch to follow his lawyer's suggestion to trademark the games name. If he hadn't he would be far worse off. If Bethesda wanted to use "Scrolls", why didn't they trademark that name instead?
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August 14th, 2011, 12:49
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
Why not just let Notch and Todd sit down over a pint of ale and solve this?
It's hardly an argument between Todd and Notch, like someone else said already, its not just some dudes sitting in a basement doing a games, they have a legal department etc, i'm not sure Todd have much say in this even.
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August 14th, 2011, 12:50
Usually, a trademark at least in Europe is always connected to a specified range of products and services, and cannot be enforced indiscriminately. I have no idea if a trademark for a computer card game would also apply to a computer role playing game, though.

And I agree with you, Aries, that the whole trademarking business has devolved into something completely useless and even harmful. Much like the patent business, even though I do not argue that patents and trademarks are useful in principle. It would be better if they just sit together and talked, as you say.

That said, I do not see Notch as the lone victim anymore. If anyone is the victim, it's both Notch and Bethesda, with the perpetrator being trademark law itself
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August 14th, 2011, 13:25
There's an older thread of Fallout being trademarked for movies, and here is a list of movies named Fallout. In total there are some 7 movies named Fallout before the trademark got registered.

Here are a few more you should be careful not to infringe on:
"PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE"
"WAR. WAR NEVER CHANGES."

On the person in charge at Zenimax:
Altman is a lawyer. He became part of the company BCCI. During his time there he was accused of helping the business buy an American bank and lying to US regulators about it. In 1992, he was indicted for eight felony charges in New York. Altman maintained that he himself was duped by the bank. He was acquitted of all charges, though he did agree to be banned from banking to settle a civil suit by the Federal Reserve.

After leaving the practice of law, Altman became chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media.
Color me surprised… that he was a lawyer that is.

How about id software's trademark of "RAGE". I don't hear people kicking and screaming about that.
Last edited by hishadow; August 14th, 2011 at 14:59.
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August 15th, 2011, 13:19
Originally Posted by hishadow View Post
How about id software's trademark of "RAGE". I don't hear people kicking and screaming about that.
We can't afford the license fees
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August 15th, 2011, 16:34
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
I'm sure Bethesda will lose this case if it ever goes to court.
Doesn't matter.

The process costs alone will make him go bancrupt - and he will be forced to sell his trade mark, because he simply won't be able to keep up the costs for holding it.

Case won.

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August 15th, 2011, 16:36
Well, Notch is actually quite strong financially, he as one person sold so many copies of minecraft… and the money keeps coming in. So if it goes into a fight.. I think he'll be able to put one up.
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August 15th, 2011, 16:38
I seriously hope he will.
Because - in my opinioon - he deserves it.
In "David vs. Goliath", I'm always for Davids.

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August 15th, 2011, 16:51
Originally Posted by JuliusMagnus View Post
I don't think the release date of Minecraft is at play at all. I do think Skyrim will not sell as much copies as Minecraft (which already has sold in exces of 3 million). But the same goes for Angy Birds.

The PC hasn't been The Elder Scrolls' main market for almost a decade and I don't see them in direct competition with Minecraft.

In fact while Minecraft has already been sold 3 million times on one platform (PC) and will probably continue to sell more. I think Skyrim will at most sell half of that on all platforms combined. If we're looking at the PC version, that will probably sell at most 5% of Minecrafts 3 Million.
While I don't really know how many copies were sold on PC exclusively, Oblivion has sold over 3.5 million copies on the Xbox 360 alone. It has sold over 2.1 million copies on the PS3. I would guess the pc has sold a couple million too, but tracking pc sales is a very inexact science.

Not sure why you think Skyrim would sell less than 1/3 what Oblvion has sold but it's not logical to assume it.

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August 15th, 2011, 18:17
If we're looking at the PC version, that will probably sell at most 5% of Minecrafts 3 Million.
Hehe, ahem, no.

Skyrim PC sales will exceed Oblivion PC sales. I think 100% of Minecraft sales is closer to the mark.

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August 18th, 2011, 18:42
Apparently now Notch thinks a game of Quake would settle it via Gamebanshee.
Source: http://notch.tumblr.com/

And the relevant quote:

The only negative thing going on at this moment is the Scrolls trademark lawsuit nonsense, and I think I came up with the perfect solution:

Remember that scene in Game of Thrones where Tyrion chose a trial by battle in the Eyrie? Well, let’s do that instead! I challenge Bethesda to a game of Quake 3. Three of our best warriors against three of your best warriors. We select one level, you select the other, we randomize the order. 20 minute matches, highest total frag count per team across both levels wins. If we win, you drop the lawsuit. If you win, we will change the name of Scrolls to something you’re fine with.

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August 18th, 2011, 21:50
I think they should settle via a multiplayer Mount and Blade battle.
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