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Blizzard and Valve at War Over DOTA Name

By - Source: Kotaku | B 89 comments

Blizzard and Valve are going head-to-head over the DOTA name.

Kotaku sums up the history rather nicely: Blizzard made a game called Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos and then released an expansion pack called The Frozen Throne, the latter of which was the foundation for a popular mod called Defense of the Ancients (DOTA). Half-Life 2 creator Valve then decided to develop a stand-alone sequel to DOTA called DOTA2. Meanwhile, Blizzard created a StarCraft 2 multiplayer map called Blizzard DOTA. Now the two developers are battling head-to-head over the DOTA name.

The fight actual stems back to 2010. Despite the fact that Valve had no historical connections to the property or the genre, the company attempted to trademark DOTA with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office anyway. Blizzard publicly spoke unkindly about the move, but didn't legally pursue any type of trademark application block until now, conveniently just before DOTA2 launches sometime this year.

In front of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trial and Appeal Board, Blizzard argues that the DOTA name has been used by Blizzard and its fans for seven years, that it's become "firmly associated in the mind of consumers with Blizzard." Even more, Blizzard argues that the original DOTA needs the Warcraft 3 Frozen Throne expansion pack to play. The company has even licensed the DOTA label to other companies even though it never filed for a trademark.

"In contrast to Blizzard, Applicant Valve Corporation ("Valve") has never used the mark DOTA in connection with any product or service that currently is available to the public," Blizzard states. "By attempting to register the mark DOTA, Valve seeks to appropriate the more than seven years of goodwill that Blizzard has developed in the mark DOTA and in its Warcraft 3 computer game and take for itself a name that has come to signify the product of years of time and energy expended by Blizzard and by fans of Warcraft 3."

"Valve has no right to the registration it seeks," Blizzard continues. "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 3."

The full Notice of Opposition, which was filed on November 16, 2011, can be read here. Blizzard merely wants the trademark office to block Valve's attempt.

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    erunion , February 11, 2012 3:41 AM
    The DOTA name should either a) belong to the modders that developed the original or b) be public domain like RTS or FPS. I prefer b.
  • 20 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , February 11, 2012 3:04 AM
    :::sigh::: Here we go again with patents.
  • 19 Hide
    whitey_rolls , February 11, 2012 3:03 AM
    Dota was a mod for Warcraft 3 not an official game or a copyrighted license so I don't see Blizzards Beef
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    whitey_rolls , February 11, 2012 3:03 AM
    Dota was a mod for Warcraft 3 not an official game or a copyrighted license so I don't see Blizzards Beef
  • 20 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , February 11, 2012 3:04 AM
    :::sigh::: Here we go again with patents.
  • 17 Hide
    amdfangirl , February 11, 2012 3:15 AM
    If Blizzard wanted to give gamers 'goodwill' they would let DOTA 2 release.
  • 14 Hide
    aliened , February 11, 2012 3:16 AM
    ^^^^^ true, it was a mod, not an official game by Blizzard. On the other hand, Vlave DOES have an official game and is doing what he is supposed to do if he wants to protect its intellectual property. It would be very different if this was just another troll patent claim, but because Valve actually invested time and money into a real project they have all the rights to claim ownership of the name. And wtf with Blizzard on charging royalties over something that they didn't actually own?...
  • 7 Hide
    humphreybot , February 11, 2012 3:33 AM
    it might come down to interpretation of usa copyright law. which in its base form is very simple. just having something "printed" can constitute copyright. ie, a term paper for school is automatically copyrighted. without need of a filing. i think blizzard will win this one.....unless the mod creators step into the fray........
  • 24 Hide
    erunion , February 11, 2012 3:41 AM
    The DOTA name should either a) belong to the modders that developed the original or b) be public domain like RTS or FPS. I prefer b.
  • 6 Hide
    kcorp2003 , February 11, 2012 3:55 AM
    if you read the license agreement for Warcraft, it pretty much give Blizzard rights to do this. But yeah, like amdfangirl said, "If Blizzard wanted to give gamers 'goodwill' they would let DOTA 2 release"
  • 10 Hide
    FloKid , February 11, 2012 3:57 AM
    Damage what, a wallet that's already tearing apart?
  • 18 Hide
    deadlydave , February 11, 2012 4:16 AM
    This has nothing to do with patents or copyright. They are looking to prevent Valve from getting the DOTA trademark. Trademarks need to be registered and are not automatically given.
  • 1 Hide
    Parsian , February 11, 2012 4:22 AM
    If Blizzard has the right, I would say to Blizzard: "SWAP IT FOR HL3 FRANCHISE" since VALVE seems to have no interest in developing its iconic IP but in very interested in neighbours' grass. I bet you if blizzard with its massive money, hired the original cast and crew, and developed HL3, it would have been something.

  • -4 Hide
    arcu86 , February 11, 2012 4:22 AM
    DOTA wouldn't exist it wasn't for Warcraft III's development tools thus, it is a offspring of blizzard's product, blizzard owns entitlement not to the title of "DOTA" but to the birth of it. DOTA has mechanics from warcraft III's hero and micro system, and game play mechanics. Blizzard certainly shouldn't let one of its offspring go to other hands even if its only 75% or 50% blizzard, its still one of there children.
  • 8 Hide
    NuclearShadow , February 11, 2012 4:27 AM
    Due to the digital millenium copyright act within US law anything that is made is automatically copyrighted to the creators of the content. This means in the case of DOTA the creators of such would own all the content they produced and very likely can control the usage of the name.

    I for example cannot take the name of the Half-life 2 mod Synergy and make a retail game in it's likeness with the name Synergy 2 claiming to be a sequel of Synergy. If I did and was selling the game that would be a big no-no and be sued, rightfully so too.

    Sounds like Valve is in the wrong right? Nope, they did the right steps and hired the creator of DOTA who is the legal copyright holder of the first game. With obviously having the blessing of their new employee who is leading the project. Blizzard has no case they could have done this years ago but failed to and once again Valve snatches up a creative and intelligent individual who will further make Valve even greater.
  • 1 Hide
    emperorxyz , February 11, 2012 4:34 AM
    I'd say on one hand, Blizzard does have a point. But on the other, I'd really like to play anything Valve makes. If I was the judge, I'd make Valve pay a small compensation and be able to continue developing DOTA 2.
  • 12 Hide
    NuclearShadow , February 11, 2012 4:41 AM
    emperorxyzI'd say on one hand, Blizzard does have a point. But on the other, I'd really like to play anything Valve makes. If I was the judge, I'd make Valve pay a small compensation and be able to continue developing DOTA 2.



    No, they really do not. Team Fortress was originally a Quake mod the creators were hired by Valve and made TFC and TF2 while with Valve. You do not see id software claiming to own any rights to Team Fortress, you do not see them kicking and screaming despite the popularity and success of Team Fortress. Why? Because they have no rights to it. The fact that the mod was originally developed on their engine and game gives them no ownership to anything that they did not personally create including the Team Fortress name.

    Valve is 100% in the right here.
  • -8 Hide
    whimseh , February 11, 2012 4:46 AM
    It's Blizzard's property, they deserve it. Also, us Warcraft 3 players call them "maps", not "mods".
  • 16 Hide
    phraun , February 11, 2012 5:11 AM
    arcu86DOTA wouldn't exist it wasn't for Warcraft III's development tools thus, it is a offspring of blizzard's product, blizzard owns entitlement not to the title of "DOTA" but to the birth of it. DOTA has mechanics from warcraft III's hero and micro system, and game play mechanics. Blizzard certainly shouldn't let one of its offspring go to other hands even if its only 75% or 50% blizzard, its still one of there children.


    The Warcraft series wouldn't exist without the use of the MS-DOS (and later Windows) environment provided by Microsoft, thus it's a child product of MS's own OS. As such, Microsoft should obviously own the Warcraft name and anything associated with it.

    (obligatory sarcasm tag)
  • 1 Hide
    fuxxnuts , February 11, 2012 5:18 AM
    NuclearShadowNo, they really do not. Team Fortress was originally a Quake mod the creators were hired by Valve and made TFC and TF2 while with Valve. You do not see id software claiming to own any rights to Team Fortress, you do not see them kicking and screaming despite the popularity and success of Team Fortress. Why? Because they have no rights to it. The fact that the mod was originally developed on their engine and game gives them no ownership to anything that they did not personally create including the Team Fortress name.Valve is 100% in the right here.



    QFT -- blizzard owns wa rcraft (tm), and thats about it...
  • 4 Hide
    kcorp2003 , February 11, 2012 5:18 AM
    emperorxyzI'd say on one hand, Blizzard does have a point. But on the other, I'd really like to play anything Valve makes. If I was the judge, I'd make Valve pay a small compensation and be able to continue developing DOTA 2.


    valve doesn't really make anything with the exception of Half-Life. they just get people that are creative (modders) take them in and make some final polish to their games and release it like portal, Counter-Strike, etc... much of their success is thanks to mods. The developers are all third-party mod that Valve purchased and developed into a full game :)  just like DOTA 2. also DOTA 2 had a long history before valve took them under their wings ;) 
  • 13 Hide
    invlem , February 11, 2012 5:46 AM
    From reading this I don't think blizzard is doing anything wrong here.

    Nowhere does it say Blizzard is pursuing the trademark for DOTA, they're just attempting to stop Valve from trademarking it.
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