ZeniMax and Mojang have finally settled their trademark dispute over the word “scrolls.” While it’s a victory for Mojang (their next game, Scrolls, will retain its original title), ZeniMax comes out of this looking like an adventurer who took an arrow to the knee.
According to the settlement, ZeniMax (which is the parent company of Bethesda Softworks) will obtain the trademark to “Scrolls” and will license it to Mojang for use in their upcoming game. This decision was reached due to ZeniMax’s ownership of the “Elder Scrolls” trademark. The word “Scrolls” can also be used in any expansion to the digital card game. However, if Mojang ever creates a sequel, the terms of the settlement state that it cannot use the word “Scrolls.”
So I guess that’s settled. But the question remains, why did ZeniMax/Bethesda believe they had any right to the “Scrolls” trademark? Their most famous game series may be known as “The Elder Scrolls,” but the three most recent games in the series are always referred to as simply Morrowind, Oblivion, or Skyrim… even by the company’s own website. By putting restrictions on Mojang’s use of the word “Scrolls,” Bethesda just comes across as a bully.
And how did Mojang expect to trademark a single word such as “Scrolls” anyway? The mind boggles.