by Zachary Knight

Filed Under:
fus ro dah, games, meme, skyrim

bethesda, zenimax

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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  1. icon
    Overcast (profile), 13 Apr 2012 @ 7:25am

    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.

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