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Video Games


In the ongoing lawsuit between Majong games (makers of Minecraft) and Bethesda (makers of Elder Scrolls), Majong and President Markus “Notch” Persson have scored a temporary victory. Bethesda has brought suit against Majong over the upcoming “Scrolls” game, which Bethesda contends is too similar to their popular “Elder Scrolls” series. Bethesda has publicly stated that the sole reason they have brought suit is to really defend their trademark. An unfortunate side effect of trademark law is that failure to file suit against potential violations (even ones the TM holder does not mind) can be used as a defense in later suits (against violations the TM holder does mind). Previously, Notch had suggested a Doom match to settle the matter, but later retracted the challenge.

Bethesda had filed for a preliminary injunction to prevent the release of “Scrolls” under that title. Essentially, a preliminary injunction is a request for the court to maintain the status quo (i.e., not to allow the game to be released) while the suit is pending. One factor considered by the courts is the likelihood the Plaintiff (Bethesda) will prevail at trial. So, while Majong’s victory is not total, since the suit is still going forward, it is an important victory for them nonetheless.


About Nerds in Court

John G. Nowakowski, Esq. (LLMT), is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law, and is licensed to practice law in California and Nevada. Christina R. Evola, Esq. is a recent graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law where her studies focused on intellectual property, antitrust, and media law. She is a lifelong gamer and avid cosplayer. DISCLAIMER: ‘Nerds in Court’ is for entertainment purposes only. Nothing should be construed as legal advice, or any advice for that matter, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by reading these posts. Do not consider information provided here as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified, licensed attorney in your state.


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