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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?

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30 comments

  • theimmortalmoo - February 10, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    Can't we all just, get along
  • GhostNappa2k10 - February 10, 2012 10:26 a.m.

    "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.” So then, Blizzard, why are YOU cashing in on the success of DoTA, with your own version, when it is already freely available to everyone in the Warcraft 3 community?
  • SideOfBeef - February 10, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    Blizzard DOTA is free, it's just a Starcraft 2 custom map. This whole case is just Valve trying to trademark a name they have no right to, and Blizzard trying to keep that name open as it should be.
  • GhostNappa2k10 - February 10, 2012 10:57 a.m.

    I didn't think it was free, I thought they'd charge. Either way though, since the name is free to copyright, and the majority of the original creators now work at Valve, then Valve have every right to copyright the term.
  • ChiefLethal - February 10, 2012 11:07 a.m.

    One thing I've read about when this type of litigation pops up is how companies file lawsuits to protect their intellectual property. Dota may have been created by someone that wasn't Blizzard but Blizzard technically owns it since it was created using proprietary Blizzard software, according to the WC3/editor ToS.
  • Church117 - February 10, 2012 12:34 p.m.

    Exactly this. As far as I remember, anything made with the editor in StarcraftBW, Starcraft 2, and Warcraft 3 are considered property of Blizzard. Now, there may be loopholes with making the maps with a third party editor, but I'm not sure. But, Blizzard "technically" owns all the rights to every map made for WC3 because of the terms of service you agree to when you launch the editor (their editor at least)
  • GhostNappa2k10 - February 10, 2012 2:42 p.m.

    Thing is, is that Blizzard themselves don't actually own DoTA, as it is, as you say, created using Blizzard software, but not BY Blizzard. It was created by the community. Therefore, the name is copyright-free. Not for much longer, if Valve get their way.
  • Dakken - February 10, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    Wouldn't Valve be in their rights to do that? Blizzard never officially made Dota. Just the engine more or less. And because DOTA 2 won't be a blizzard engine, and Valve got to the claims first. Blizzard would be kind of screwed and they're just antsy angry cause all their "fans" are leaving them anyway. Blizzard continues to shoot themselves in the foot in my honest opinion. Besides.. If the "Blizzard Dota" is what it looks like in that picture. I'd hate to see the finished product.
  • 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.
  • antiartificial - February 11, 2012 11:40 a.m.

    You may be confused about this too, since you're completely unfamiliar with how trademarks work in the real world demonstrated by your reply. In the US trademarks are first to file. Unless you have a TM, which signifies your intent to competitors, it's not protected. Even then that's a regional TM, not a national TM. Regional has become even more blurry with the internet because with a keystroke your presence is now international. The ® symbol may ONLY be used AFTER the US Government grants a Federal registration certificate. The ® symbol may not be used while the Federal application is pending. Additionally, the ® symbol may only be used in connection with the goods and services listed on the registration certificate. Google "Trademark Law Basics" if you have any questions...
  • Elementium - February 17, 2012 1:57 p.m.

    Be fair.. Who would have thought valve would grab dota? Blizzard has always been for the players.. They could have seen trademarking dota as negative to modders so they left it alone.. Honestly it could go either way but I'm with blizzard.. Dota is based off Warcraft and the dota characters look similar so it could be confused with a blizzard game.. Also I thought blizzard also hired some of the original dota guys?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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