According to a report, Blizzard has challenged Valve’s attempt to obtain a U.S. trademark on Defense of the Ancients. In 2011, Valve announced that development of a sequel was under way to the popular World of Warcraft mod, Defense of the Ancients. Although at the time Blizzard stated that it would not oppose Valve in their endeavour, they were confused about the move. However, this is not the case as it has been reported that Blizzard had filed a complaint with the U.S. trademark in opposition of Valve’s registration of the DOTA name in late 2011.
In it’s filing, Blizzard claims:
“Valve Corporation 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.”
Blizzard goes on to state that Valve has no right to the registration they seek, and that if the trademark were issued to Valve, it would damage Blizzard and its fans that worked hard for years on the mod. It would also confuse consumers into believing that Valve’s product was somehow associated with Blizzard and Warcraft III.
Finally, Blizzard concluded by saying that Valve has never “released, distributed, or sold any products using the mark DOTA, or, for that matter, any of the DOTA Marks.” And that “if Valve is granted registration of the Dota mark, it would obtain a prima facie exclusive right to use of its mark that would cause damage and injury to Blizzard.”
Analysis: To me, there doesn’t appear to be a company that is clearly more in the right than the other. On the one hand, Blizzard has played no active role in the success of DOTA other than providing the tools incidentally to their community, who was able to provide a mod. On the other hand, DOTA has bee intrinsically linked to Warcraft for over seven years now, and Valve’s attempt to swipe that mod away for its own publishing purposes is incredibly daring but somewhat unethical in its own right.
I’d expect many to side with Valve, however, purely from reputation. Valve is typically seen as a company beloved by most, respected by all, and can’t seem to place one foot in the wrong. Activision Blizzard would appear to be on the opposite side of the spectrum, seen by some as a big evil corporation that is the very problem with the industry today.
Either way, no matter which side is in the right, it’s always a shame to see two companies fighting over something like this. It serves as a reminder that this industry is still very much a business.