Bethesda And Zenimax Settle 'Redfall' Trademark Dispute With Trollish Book Publisher
from the what-a-breeze dept
Zenimax, parent company of Bethesda, was in a trademark dispute with book publisher BookBreeze.com on behalf of author Jay Falconer over Zenimax’s trademark application for the term “Redfall”. I could have sworn I wrote about this when the this dispute started in February, but it appears not. At issue is that Falconer has a sci-fi series of novels with the Redfall title and he is claiming that the public might be confused between his books and whatever game Zenimax is planning to publish with that trademark. Much of the speculation is that it will be for the next Elder Scrolls game.
It’s not known exactly what game ZeniMax applied for the Redfall trademark for, but with another Elder Scrolls game in the works at ZeniMax-owned Bethesda, it’s possible that the company was planning to use Redfall in the name of that in-development game.
According to the author, his legal team attempted to resolve the issue before filing an official dispute, but was met with radio silence from ZeniMax at every turn.
“My lawyers made attempts to contact gaming company to work out a simple licensing deal for them to use my Redfall name,” tweeted Falconer. They ignored me every time. Shame. Left me no choice. All could have been avoided. Just call my attorneys back.”
All of which is nonsense. The video game and literary markets are not the same and it strains the mind to imagine how the average consumer might somehow confuse an entry in the Elder Scrolls game series with a series of science fiction novels. This always had the smell of a money-grab and I had rather hoped that Zenimax would bother to fight this one out in court. After all, the real concern by Falconer appears to be that he might some day want to license his books for a game. That hope and dream is not the basis for a trademark dispute, however.
Unfortunately, it looks like Zenimax has settled with Falconer. I say unfortunately because, as is common, the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
“ZeniMax Media Inc. and Bookbreeze.com are pleased to announce that they have amicably resolved a pending trademark dispute related to the Redfall trademark,” reads a short statement.
“While the specific terms of the agreement are confidential, the parties believe that resolution of the matter is mutually beneficial to both ZeniMax and Bookbreeze.com and their respective fans.”
So what does that all mean? Who knows. I’ll be interested to see if Zenimax gets its trademark for “Redfall”, or uses it without a trademark. We’ll never find out if any money was exchanged, but, if that happened, it looks like Falconer will have pulled off some trademark bullying for profit. It would have been much better to see this fought out in court, because the initial claims weren’t particularly strong.
Oh well. Perhaps Zenimax’s lawyers have grown tired of lawyerly adventures after taking too many trademark arrows to the knee.