Blizzard Opposing Valve's Dota Trademark
Blizzard Entertainment has filed a formal opposition to Valve's application for a trademark of the name Dota, stating that it seeks to usurp the consumer goodwill generated by seven years of use in relation to Blizzard products, specifically Warcraft III and the Dota mods that started everything.
Blizzard's case is that because "Dota" is widely known to refer to its products and services, Valve has no right to trademark it and use the word to market its own product and thereby piggyback on the positive consumer perception that Blizzard is in large part responsible for.
Though the brief filed by Blizzard with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office mentions Warcraft III's end-user licensing agreement, it interestingly doesn't claim any ownership of Dota concepts, design, or the mod itself – only that the EULA states that the underlying game engine, art assets, et cetera are all still owned by Blizzard. This is heartening, since some games' EULAs have seemed to imply that any mods made with provided editing tools are the property of the game publisher, no matter what.
Blizzard's larger claim seems to be that the promotion of Dota as a concept in consumers' minds through Battle.net, Blizzcon, blizzard.com, and other sites entitles the company to gamers' mindshare of the word.
One interesting piece of information to come out of the filing is that Blizzard apparently owns the smashingly popular DotA-Allstars.com website, which still serves as a clearinghouse for the mod's enormous community. Apparently, Steve Feak (also known as Guinsoo, who is one of Dota's key developers and now a designer on League of Legends) and Steve Mescon, the original owners of the website, sold it to Riot in 2010 and then from Riot to Blizzard in 2011. Blizzard uses this fact, and the large role that website has played in the development of Dota as a term, as a supporting plank in its opposition to Valve's trademark application.
Discovery for the case – the period during which lawyers on both sides pore through documents and information in an effort to bolster their case, and which compels both sides to reveal pertinent information to the other – doesn't close until July 23rd, so don't expect any speedy resolution to this issue.
Dota fans shouldn't have much to worry about, though, since the absolute worst outcome of the motion in which Valve was denied any use of the Dota name still wouldn't affect the game itself at all, as Blizzard has not made any claim to the design or game mechanics or anything of that nature.
Game Informer has reached out to Valve for comment, and this story will be updated if we receive any word from the company.