Valve may have to find a new title
for its upcoming DOTA 2, as Blizzard is taking the studio to court
over the rightful ownership of the DOTA namesake.
DOTA (aka Defense of the Ancients) was
originally a mod built from the guts of Blizzard's Warcraft III. It
went on to build a whole new fanbase of its own and later caught the
eye of Valve developers, who hired some of the talent behind DOTA
with intentions to expand upon the series. In 2010, Valve went so far
as to seek trademark rights to the DOTA name, and it was right around
then when Blizzard began questioning the validity of its claim.
“[It's] a little bit of confusion, to
be honest,” said Blizzard vp Rob Pardo in a 2010 interview with Eurogamer. “Certainly, DOTA came out of the Blizzard community...
It just seems a really strange move to us that Valve would go off and
try to exclusively trademark the term considering it's something
that's been freely available to us and everyone in the Warcraft III
community up to this point.”
Now that both Valve and Blizzard are
pursuing their own follow-ups to DOTA (Valve with DOTA 2 and
Blizzard with Blizzard DOTA) the bad blood between the two PC
developers has gone to the next level. In legal filings obtained by NeoGaf members, Blizzard will attempt to block Valve's DotA trademark
once and for all in court, claiming, “Valve
has no right to the registration it seeks. If such registration is
issued, it not only will damage Blizzard, but also the legions of
Blizzard fans that have worked for years with Blizzard and its
products, including by causing consumers to falsely believe that
Valve's products are affiliated, sponsored or endorsed by Blizzard
and are related or connected to Warcraft III.”
latest trademark battle is reminiscent of Bethesda's injunction against Mojang over the name “Scrolls”. However, where that was
something of a David vs. Goliath type story, this dispute feels more
like a Goliath vs. Goliath situation. Who do you think has the right
to carry the DOTA torch?