Published on February 15th, 2012 | by Dan0
Blizzard Takes the Gloves Off in DOTA Trademark Fight
So you may have heard that Blizzard and Valve are both developing games that bear the DOTA name. This past summer, we reported that the companies appeared to be playing it cool regarding the DOTA trademark, but we should have guessed that wouldn’t last very long.
Valve has applied for a trademark on the DOTA name and all its derivatives, and it looks like Blizzard has decided to flex their legal muscle to block it. Blizzard didn’t pull any punches in their appeal to the US Patent and Trademark Office:
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. 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 III 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 III. 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.
Blizzard’s argument is that, since Warcraft III provided the software base for the original DOTA mod, the DOTA mark has always been naturally associated with Blizzard. No comment from Valve yet, but I’m guessing they have a slightly different take on the situation.
Why should you care about this? Well, first off, we figure it’s never good to have bad blood between two beloved PC gaming developers. More importantly, though, a legal trademark battle could potentially delay the release of both games until everything is sorted out. Hopefully this doesn’t drag out, but given that both companies seem to have valid arguments to the DOTA trademark, it’s hard to be optimistic.