Court Rules Gamers Are Not Idiots And Not Likely To Be Confused Over 'Scrolls'

from the won-the-battle-on-to-the-war dept

Mojang has won the first of several battles in its legal troubles involving the trademark “Scrolls”. Via a tweet, Markus ‘notch’ Persson announced:

We won the interim injunction! We can keep using the name “Scrolls”. ZeniMax/Bethesda can still appeal the ruling, but I’m very happy. 😀

According to a Gamasutra summary of the ruling, the court found that although the games in question have a high degree of similarities, the target consumers have a higher than normal awareness and are thus less likely to be confused over the trademarks.

Nevertheless, the Court finds that there are similarities as well – both games/series taking place in a fantasy setting, and that consumers appear to be somewhat overlapping, and that as a consequence, there is a relatively high degree of similarity of goods.

The Court then goes on to discuss the consumers of these kinds of games. ZeniMax’s opinion is that it is the general public, which holds no particular awareness of differences between various titles and games.

Mojang on the contrary, has argued that computer and video gamers constitute a well defined (albeit large) group which is very much aware of differences between various games and titles. The Court finds mostly with Mojang, agreeing that the relevant consumers are not the general public, and that their awareness is higher than normal.

While this is not a decisive victory for Mojang, it does mean that it can continue to use ‘Scrolls’ in its regular course of business. Bethesda/Zenimax still has a chance to block Mojang in the future but for now nothing will change. We have yet to hear if Bethesda plans to appeal this ruling or wait for the full proceedings to commence. This ruling, however, does not effect the trademark status in nations outside Sweden. Which means that the USPTO’s rejection still stands in the US.

In the mean time, perhaps Bethesda’s legal team should reconsider that Quake match. Notch is still up for it.

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Companies: bethesda, mojang

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Comments on “Court Rules Gamers Are Not Idiots And Not Likely To Be Confused Over 'Scrolls'”

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freak (profile) says:

Re: Re:


That’s not the level of similarity we’re talking about.

Scrolls is a Trading Card style Game. You have ‘scrolls’ that you collect as you win battles that allow you to build collections (decks) that you use in combat. The scrolls cast spells (effects), or summon creatures that are placed on a grid, which then duke it out turn-based boardgame style.

Elder Scrolls is an RPG. You are a single character with experience levels, equipment, race, class & skills, where the character is directly manipulated for combat, (Throw this type of punch when I click the button), and I don’t believe it’s turn-based.

The similarity begins and ends with “fantasy setting” and “scrolls”

A Dan (profile) says:

An important point

The gamers aren’t necessarily the ones likely to be confused. Keep in mind that there are lots of morons in a hurry (i.e. parents) that tend to buy video games for others, but have little ability to differentiate and are likely to be confused by any similarities.

Regardless, given the nature of the game, I would guess it is unlikely to be boxed for sale in a store.

matics (profile) says:

I think they should use the “nickname” test. When I play Counter-Strike, I refer to it as simply CS. When I refer to Call of Duty, I call it COD. When I play League of Legends, I call it LoL or “League” instead.

I have never heard anyone refer to Elder Scrolls as simply “Scrolls” – it’s usually by its specific name, as other commenters mentioned, that might be “Skyrim” There isn’t likely to be much confusion between the two games since nobody refers to Bethesda’s titles by “Scrolls” ever.

JustMe (profile) says:

ZeniMax/Bethesda - now is your chance to let it drop

Seriously, just let the thing drop and move on. Quit bugging this guy for using ‘Scrolls’ in the title. I’ve purchased many of the the *Scrolls games but right now you guys are on a time out. I won’t buy any of your games because your lawyers are ruining your reputation as a game company. Pretty soon you’ll be lumped in with the copyright trolls and music industry. Just walk away from the lawsuit and consider donating $20,000 to a charity of Markus’ choosing.

# Also, seriously, the monsters that level up with you and vendors with no money? Nice ideas in theory, but I got really tired of fighting lvl 32 rats in the same place where I’d been fighting lvl 3 rats a few days earlier. Where were the giant honkin’ lvl 32 rats then? Why aren’t there any lvl 3 rats around now? Did they get eaten or have they just been at the gym? Also, I left piles and piles of armor and weapons sitting outside the vendors so I’d be able to sell a couple of them the next time I came through that town. The streets were littered with the stuff, and nobody seemed to notice. There is no economic reason to restrict the money supply in a single player game.

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