Zenimax Files For Trademark On A Skyrim Internet Meme

from the arrow-to-the-knee dept

We are all aware of the aggressive nature of Bethesda parent company Zenimax when it comes to trademarks. We now learn that it is not only aggressive in defense of its trademarks but is also an aggressive filer of trademarks for things surrounding its properties. Fusible is reporting that Zenimax has recently filed 6 different trademark applications covering a variety of uses of the phrase “Fus Ro Dah”.

For those of you not in the know, “Fus Ro Dah” is a phrase spoken by characters in the Bethesda game Skyrim when casting a spell that sends a blast of energy knocking back anything in its path. For those Star Wars buffs out there, it is very similar to a Jedi Force Push. This spell has spawned its very own meme using both in game footage of the spell use and the use of the phrase just before real people fall on video, as can be seen here:


While we are not entirely sure of Zenimax’s true intentions, we do know that due to the ownership culture we have in the US many companies want control over anything related or somewhat related to their properties. This protectionist attitude is probably the primary driver of this move. Zenimax most likely feels that since this meme is based on one of its properties, it should have sole control over its use.

Unfortunately, this move to trademark a meme can actually result in its premature death. Memes are born in the wild and are best able to grow and spread if left to the whims and wiles of those on the internet. Memes cannot be controlled or tamed. If Zenimax’s trademark filing is approved, the moment it makes its first move toward control, such as sending a cease and desist or taking down a video, it will feel a backlash by fans of Skyrim. If Zenimax had anyone capable of rational thought running its operation, it would have left this meme be and sat back and enjoyed the free advertising it provides for one of its games.

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Companies: bethesda, zenimax

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Comments on “Zenimax Files For Trademark On A Skyrim Internet Meme”

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48 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I can haz trademark?

Chuck Norris would get his ass kicked by Liam Neeson. He freed 1000 jews from the nazis, trained obi-wan and Batman, he led the A-Team, saved Narnia, and he released the freaking kraken. What did Chuck Norris do? He solved crimes with a bunch of hillbillies in Texas and got his butt whipped by Bruce Lee.

Overcast (profile) says:

Who are they to say that a meme can’t make money? They didn’t create the meme. They didn’t spread it. If someone wants to make money on the meme and the wider community doesn’t like it, the community will solve the problem. They don’t need a trademark to police the behavior.

Yep, they did not create it.

In my spare time, I enjoy modding Fallout 3 and potentially I will do some modding for Skyrim too eventually.

But this makes us modders nervous. If I come out with some really good content, will they seek to trademark it out from under me? Even though I likely wouldn’t make a dime, and never plan to – I would quit modding right away if they did that.

While I wouldn’t be annoyed about any ‘profit loss’ – it suddenly puts me in a position legally, that I wouldn’t want to be in.

Hmm, maybe I should find something else to do, huh?

But if not for us Modders – Oblivion, Fallout, and Skyrim’s re-playability would be *significantly* lesser.

G Thompson (profile) says:

For all those who have played Skyrim you will know that all Zenimax needs is an arrow in the knee, because basically they are butthurt since someone stole there sweetroll.

Aawwww poor babies!

What’s next they want to trademark Dragons too? or the use of “Nordich” themes in a game/movie/novel/whatever?

Though the memes for Skyrim cannot be stopped by some idiot country in one country trying to control what is a WORLDWIDE phenomenon that they just provided the original idea for.

Or are they also trying to tm the idea for “Force Balance Push” (What the words mean in the Dragon tongue of the game)

Maybe someone should create a meme that says “Zenimax – Fools R Dumb”

Anonymous Coward says:

Seiously? ZeniMax is not wanting to destroy the existence of memes. Oh, come on. ZeniMax is simply trying to protect an asset that has become synonymous with their game. I doubt ZeniMax has any intention to remove those videos on YouTube, Memes on CheezBurger or anything else. They registered it because they don’t want anyone else using it in a different, unlicensed game that would take away from sales.

That’s CLEARLY the reason. That’s CLEARLY their intentions.

You guys are retarded.

Silence8 says:

In all fairness, there are plenty of people besides Zenimax/Bethesda making money from Skyrim.

http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?search_submit=&q=skyrim&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US

If they were smart, they’d create a marketplace on their own site for handmade Skyrim goods, and take a 1% cut on all goods sold. They’d make a tiny profit, but FREE ADVERTISING!!

Game companies need to realize, just like music and movie companies, that fans mashing, mixing, and reworking your IP, is what keeps your product alive in the minds of fans. You release it, they build upon it, and it keeps the train rolling until your next release.

There is a whole culture around Skyrim, and it’s fun browsing through http://reddit.com/r/skyrim looking at all the stuff people come up with because they love the game. None of this hurts the game, it only makes it better.

(Skyrim player, 109 hours playing, just started main quest a day ago)

Drew (profile) says:

Fus Ro Dah! Fus Ro Dah! Fus Ro Dah! Fus Ro Dah! Fus Ro Dah!
AWWWWW YEAAAAAAA I’m right here Zenimax come and get it.

It’s how I’m going to start greeting everyone instead of a simple hello. I think I’m going to quit my job to go work at Wal-Mart as a greeter.
Hello welcome to Fus Ro Dah!

Can you imagine the epicness of yelling Fus Ro Dah! all day!
Hey Zenimax guess what? Fus Ro Dah!

PS if you’re thinking of taking me to court don’t try I will Fus Ro Dah you in the mouth with a rusty Fus Ro Dah till you’re begging for a C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!

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