Bethesda’s lawyers are overzealously protecting trademarks again

3 min read


Remember when Zenimax – Bethesda’s parent company – had its lawyers send a cease and desist to Mojang over its card-battling strategy game, Scrolls. Despite not being remotely related games, Zenimax’s sharks argued that Scrolls infringed on their trademark for “The Elder Scrolls” and would lead to consumer confusion, because people who play games are apparently idiots. Mojang had the money to fight it all, of course, and ended u settling over the name. Those lawyers are at it again.

They’re trying to put the kibosh on a new little indie being made by a team including YouTube personality CaptainSparklez, known to his mum as Jordan Maron. His game, a free-to-play 2D mobile effort with cartoonish graphics is called Fortress Fallout, and Bethesda’s lawyers reckon that consumers will confuse it with their now first person post-apocalyptic survival RPG. They’ve sent a trademark dispute – and because Maron isn’t rolling in Mojang money, it means that Bethesda’s lawyers have won, and Fortress Fallout will have to find a new name.

Speaking in a video, Maron expressed his displeasure at what he though was corporate strong-arming and bullying.

“Our lawyers said that Bethesda is a notoriously litigious company,” Maron said in the video. “Obviously they have lots of money and resources at their disposal which we don’t really have at the moment. So essentially we are being strong-armed into having to change our name, which is unfortunate because I personally don’t see how there is any confusion between Fortress Fallout and the Fallout games.”

He likened Bethesda’s tactics to patent trolling, joking that he should call the game “The” and reciprocate the action against any game bearing the definite article.

“Congratulations, Bethesda,” Maron said in the video, clapping his hands briefly. “You won. You beat us. You exercised your might, showed us who’s boss. We’ll make sure that people do not think our game is part of the Fallout franchise. Wasn’t our goal from the start. So…yeah. Well, we’ll change it.”

Here’s that letter:

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What do you think? Should Maron and co be allowed to call their game Fortress Fallout? By wanting to still have “Fortress” in the title, are they set for litigation from Valve? Have any other names you’d suggest?

Last Updated: February 17, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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