Looks like Bethesda’s lawyers are desperate for something to do.
Some time ago, Markus “Notch” Persson, creator of Minecraft and head of Mojang, began filing for trademarks for games he and his team are working on. “Minecraft” was trademarked with ease, but Mojang’s upcoming game, Scrolls, had some difficulty becoming trademarked. Notch wrote up the full story on his official blog.
Bethesda decided to intervene in this trademark application, suggesting that the name “Scrolls” infringes on Bethesda’s trademark on “The Elder Scrolls“.
Despite the fact that nobody even refers to any of the Elder Scrolls games by “The Elder Scrolls”, and instead calls them simply “Morrowind“, “Oblivion“, or “Skyrim” (possibly the fault of Bethesda’s own failure to market the game with the proper name), the fact that Bethesda wants to trademark a single-word, common noun is a little bit scary. Not only is the word “Scrolls” rarely ever used when describing any of the Elder Scrolls games, there’s really nothing you even do with scrolls in any of those titles.
This seems almost like an abuse of the legal system. I can’t think of any reason why Bethesda would be going after a small, independent developer like Mojang for using a single, rather vague noun for an indie game.