A post on Kotaku yesterday allowed Bethesda the opportunity to break their silence about the burgeoning legal battle over the title “Scrolls,” as they have brought suit against Minecraft developer Mojang over alleged trademark infringement.
Last time we checked in with the case, Mojang’s Marcuss “Notch” Persson had said that his company offered to change the name of their upcoming “Scrolls” game to incorporate a subtitle, and to drop their own pursuit of a trademark on the “Scrolls” title entirely. The offer was rejected by Bethesda, said Notch.
But now, Pete Hines, Bethesda’s vice president of PR and marketing, has offered the first public comment on the situation from the plaintiff in the case: “This is a business matter based on how trademark law works and it will continue to be dealt with by lawyers who understand it, not by me or our developers,” Hines is quoted as saying. “Mojang’s public comments have not given a complete picture as it relates to their filings, our trademarks, or events that have taken place…Nobody here enjoys being forced into this. Hopefully it will all be resolved soon.”
One thing these comments are not: inflammatory. Hines isn’t coming back at Notch with the fire and passion that Notch has been throwing towards Bethesda—the veritable sling that David used to take down Goliath, if I may use a cliché but relatively apt analogy. In this war, it’s likely that one of the ways that Mojang will get an edge is in the realm of public perception, and no matter which way you slice it, the plucky, independent game studio that created the charming Minecraft is a lot more sympathetic than the big, “faceless” corporation looking to piss on their parade.
But, Hines isn’t here to be personal, and he’s not here to add fuel to the fire. In fact, he’s conducting himself in a pretty classy way, basically saying, “Look, you don’t know the whole story, and no one likes going to court.” And at the end of the day, as the Kotaku post goes to great lengths to point out, games are a business, even though it’s all about games. Competition is real, and so is the money that’s changing hands. Hines is being wise here by not condemning Mojang, or even defending its position, since that will happen in a courtroom, where it matters.