I was hoping something like this wouldn’t occur, but it seems my fears have come to light at last. Gaming supergiant Blizzard has officially filed a lawsuit against competing gaming supergiant Valve in regards to their use of the DOTA name in their working title, DOTA 2.
According to the legal documents, Blizzard claims that the DOTA name was originally a Blizzard licensed title when it was created years back in the original Warcraft III mod. Because of the seven year history behind it, the name has become associated with Warcraft, and Blizzard as a whole. This relationship, according to the Warcraft creator, means they should have full legal rights to the name.
They also argue that Valve “has never used the mark DOTA in connection with any product or service that currently is available to the public.” Because of this, they believe that their working title, DOTA 2, is an attempt to take that relationship away from Blizzard, which they claim would create disastrous results for the company. It is, however, true that Valve filed a trademark claim a couple years ago to register the DOTA name for their title. Blizzard claims that this trademark will create confusion as to which company the title really belongs to (sound familiar to anyone?).
The reason why games such as League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth have managed to avoid catching the same fire is likely because they don’t use the name DOTA in their titles. However, in Valve’s case, they are specifically making a direct sequel to the classic mod, name and all, which is what has Blizzard’s collective panties in a bunch.
So the question at the end of the day is such: who has the real rights to the name DOTA? Does anyone have a right to it at all? That is for the courts to decide unfortunately, and the decision could likely go either way. Both titles are looking to be awesome so far, and for something like this to suddenly pop up could create a worse sh*tstorm than if the dispute never popped up in the first place.