It’s fair to assume that when a brand originates out of a specific company’s intellectual property, it will ultimately remain in the family. But it seems that isn’t always the case. As underdogs going into the fight, Blizzard Entertainment was unsuccessful in blocking Valve‘s trademark application for rights to the name “DOTA.”
As such, the two sides have reached an armistice: Blizzard will be changing the title of their upcoming RTS – Blizzard DOTA – to Blizzard All-Stars, and can preserve the player-created DOTA maps in Warcraft III and StarCraft II. In the meantime, Valve’s hotly anticipated DOTA 2 carries on, its designation, along with naming rights for the future use of DOTA, unscathed. The terms were announced in a joint statement on Friday.
The legal wrestling began this February when Blizzard, after considerable hesitation, filed an appeal of the Valve trademark application on the grounds that the Defense of the Ancients label was rightfully theirs. DOTA did indeed spring up in 2003 as a fan-made mod to Blizzard’s Warcraft III (and has been embraced by the developer at annual events like Blizz-Con ever since), but in neglecting to secure a trademark and pull it under their wing, Valve swooped in in 2010 to claim one themselves – and revealed plans for DOTA 2 shortly thereafter.
Fair or foul, Blizzard executive VP of game design Rob Pardo realizes there isn’t much else the company (specifically, its lawyers) can do at this point:
“Both Blizzard and Valve recognize that, at the end of the day, players just want to be able to play the games they’re looking forward to, so we’re happy to come to an agreement that helps both of us stay focused on that.
“As part of this agreement, we’re going to be changing the name of Blizzard DOTA to Blizzard All-Stars, which ultimately better reflects the design of our game. We look forward to going into more detail on that at a later date.”
Valve co-founder and head honcho Gabe Newell found it hard to disagree:
“We’re pleased that we could come to an agreement with Blizzard without drawing things out in a way that would benefit no one. We both want to focus on the things our fans care about, creating and shipping great games for our communities.”
Newell is obviously the one speaking from the seat of power here, but he brings up a good point: an amicable agreement was crucial as both Blizzard All-Stars and DOTA 2 move closer to their possible 2012 releases. While All-Stars might lack in DOTA 2’s anticipation, their respective companies are near equals in possessing a copious cash flow, and a messy legal fisticuffs could easily trickle onto either game’s development.
Ranters, Blizzard could have easily cashed in on the DOTA name in 2003, but was there really any way the courts were going to punish Valve for taking advantage of their missed opportunity? Does the agreement affect your view of Blizzard All-Stars or DOTA 2 (which recently announced a free-to-play structure)?
Blizzard All Stars and DOTA 2 are both tentatively scheduled for a late 2012 release on the PC.
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