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?