Mojang's much publicized legal battle with Bethesda has only managed to go from
ugly to uglier
in recent days, but make no mistake: Bethesda's not playing schoolyard bully to the industry's favorite little guy for fun. Speaking with
, the Elder Scrolls creator told its side of the sordid story.
"Mojang's public comments have not given a complete picture as it relates to their filings, our trademarks, or events that have taken place," said Bethesda's Pete Hines.
No, this isn't just some silly squabble over a word for rolled up paper. First off, Bethesda and Zenimax aren't the only ones who are worried about potential naming mix-ups. So, who else could possibly think this is an actually an issue? Oh, nobody special. Just the
whole freaking US government
. So said a letter by the US Patent and Trademark Office two weeks before Zenimax filed suit:
“The applicant's mark so resembles [The Elder Scrolls trademark] as to be likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive. Regarding the The Elder Scrolls marks, the applicant has merely deleted the term ELDER from the registered mark. The mere deletion of wording from a registered mark may not be sufficient to overcome a likelihood of confusion.”
"Failing to protect a trademark could be damaging to an owner's rights," explained Angela Bozzuti, a trademark expert contacted by Kotaku. "Not only could it result in actual consumer confusion, but it could also weaken the strength of the mark in the marketplace. Furthermore, once there is widespread third party use of the term 'Scrolls' as or within a longer game title, it will likely weaken Zenimax's mark and make protection difficult and limited."
As such, Mojang's lack of malicious intent isn't even an issue here. As Zenimax sees it, if it doesn't put its boot of blinding speed down right here and right now, someone else might be able to successfully rip off its brand in the future. Unsurprisingly, Bethesda's not exactly whistling a cheery tune as it marches off to court.
“Nobody here enjoys being forced into this. Hopefully it will all be resolved soon,” Hines said.
Meanwhile, PC Gamer Publishing's upcoming epic role-playing golf sim The Older Parchments Fore: Cloudplace is still scheduled for release in late 2013. Or whenever it stops being entirely fictional.