Well now, this is unpleasant. Bethesda, creator of games we really love, and Notch, creator of other games we really love, have gotten into a bit of a tiff. You know, the kind with lawyers and words like “trademark infringement.” Yes, that's right: Bethesda's serving papers over, well, a word referring to a rolled up piece of paper. So, what's hat-wearing wonder Notch have to say about all this?
“We looked things up and realized they didn’t have much of a case, but we still took it seriously,” he said in a post on his personal blog. “Nothing about Scrolls is meant to in any way derive from or allude to their games. We suggested a compromise where we’d agree to never put any words in front of 'Scrolls', and instead call sequels and other things something along the lines of 'Scrolls - The Banana Expansion'. I’m not sure if they ever got back to us with a reply to this.”
“Today, I got a 15 page letter from some Swedish lawyer firm, saying they demand us to stop using the name Scrolls, that they will sue us (and have already paid the fee to the Swedish court), and that they demand a pile of money up front before the legal process has even started.”
So yes, a storm's definitely brewing. Conveniently, there's kinda-sorta legal precedent for this, what with Tim Langdell's tidal wave of “edge” nonsense that finally wrapped up earlier this year. However, as RPS points out, court is rarely a fair place, and Scrolls' “card-based RPG” designation could put it within firing (or dragon-mauling, as it were) range of Elder Scrolls plain old “RPG.”
Is Bethesda justified here? Almost certainly not. But can it bully Notch into submission – or at least get him to shell out for rights? Probably. So then, the age old question: What's in a name? A whole damn lot of trouble, apparently. The question for Notch, however, is whether it's more trouble than it's worth.