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Blizzard attempting to block Valve's DOTA trademark

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.”

This 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?

30 comments

  • TheGuy0526 - February 12, 2012 6:59 p.m.

    wow, valve is pulling a serious bitch move. I hope Blizzard shuts them down.
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 10, 2012 8:01 p.m.

    I don't see how Valve legally is in the wrong here. I don't necessarily support it, but Blizzard has no claim to it, nor is there any particular legal reason why Valve shouldn't have it. It's like the Bethesda/Interplay deal with Fallout, except with the stand-in for Interplay not even having any claim to begin with. Not a great conclusion, but a fair one nonetheless.
  • DF344 - February 10, 2012 5:32 p.m.

    Now I'm no legal expert, but I think that kinda covers it... Otherwise who here is a lawyer?
  • DF344 - February 10, 2012 5:30 p.m.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/117MEsI2yDh5o85L2-N_vYiKyIy9sza2ZWyiglx8S4qU/edit
  • Blasto - February 10, 2012 12:23 p.m.

    I think Blizzard is in the right here. Valve simply has no right to use the name "Dota" Also, Icefrog didn't make DotA.
  • IChooseUAntistaMON - February 10, 2012 11:32 a.m.

    The weird thing is that all four of these companies are beloved by the fans. If you look at the "March Mayhem" bracket on the escapist 3 of the four companies made it to the final four and bethesda fell just one round short, making it to the elite 8
  • gamegod19 - February 10, 2012 11:03 a.m.

    While I don't think Blizzard can do much about it I do agree it is kind of messed up for another company to take that name it would be like blizzard making a Counter Strike game.
  • Asmodean - February 10, 2012 11:25 a.m.

    counter strike is a TM game and name, DOTA is not, sorry but Blizzard only started to care when they noticed money being made, now they are crying foul. They Should shut their Activision owned pie holes and get back to work on Diablo 3 or Heart of the Swarm.
  • mariostyle - February 10, 2012 1:43 p.m.

    Nope. Counter-strike started out as a mod of Half-Life.
  • Asmodean - February 10, 2012 2:49 p.m.

    Ahh yes but it has been TM now after valve employed the moders
  • Grumzkar - February 10, 2012 11:21 p.m.

    Asmodean, were you not balefired?
  • chrisq823 - February 11, 2012 4:36 p.m.

    grunzkar thats awesome love me some wot
  • LackingLadyLover - February 10, 2012 10:48 a.m.

    Blizzard's in the wrong here. If anything, the term DOTA belongs to the mod's creators, who now work for Valve, and as such Valve has the better claim.
  • TheRandomFool - February 10, 2012 10:41 a.m.

    They really ought to just chill. Valve has a good game being made; why not do it like other companies did with COD? They are obviously making different iterations of the same theme, so why worry about it - both are free anyway!
  • Karenthian - February 10, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    Yeah, I think you've hit the nail on the head here. It's the original creators choice, if he works for someone then one can assume he chose them.
  • ncurry2 - February 10, 2012 10:33 a.m.

    I think Blizzard will probably be legally in the right. I don't care either way since I have LoL so why would I even bother with the others?
  • Van - February 19, 2012 7:56 a.m.

    Blizzard is trying to look like the good guy here but frankly, Valve has a much better case to put forward. Blizzard claims that "Dota" belongs to the community and then they go ahead and say they have provided the developers with several years of "goodwill". Is that the best they can come up with? Seriously? Just because they have an EULA doesn't mean jack all. This won't hold up in court. Dota has never been a community trademark. The guy who created it originally (Eul) and the guy who's been passionately devoting his time to updating and maintaining the game for several years are both employed at Valve. Blizzard are just butt hurt, that is all.
  • Van - February 19, 2012 7:57 a.m.

    If you like LoL, good for you. But it is of a much lower quality than Dota 2.
  • Asmodean - February 10, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    I don't see Blizzard wining this, DOTA was never a trade marked and is a community creation. That Valve is now trying to copyright the name as 'DOTA2'makes sense. I fear though this will hurt the community, if Blizzard looses they'll just change their EULA to state that all community made mods are the property of Blizzard. This will in turn push fans away, the better answer should have been Blizzard buying the rights once the mod was popular. It just seems they are crying foul that Valve got there first.
  • AngryToadstool - February 10, 2012 4:51 p.m.

    i know you may be confused about this...but Blizzard isn't trying to stake claim to the name, they're just trying to prevent Valve from having exclusive rights to a name that Valve didn't create. It doesn't matter that Valve hired some of the people that helped create the custom game in the first place, it's not something Valve came up with, so it shouldn't be exclusively owned by them.

Showing 1-20 of 30 comments

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