Blizzard and Valve Sort Out Their Legal Dispute Over DOTA Trademark

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Posted by Alex (2380 posts) -
Make that Blizzard All-Stars.

Marking the end of one of the shortest legal battles (more of a skirmish, really) in video game industry history, Blizzard and Valve today came to a mutual agreement over the trademark rights for DOTA. DOTA is, of course, the popular Warcraft III mod that somehow became a commercial sequel in development at Valve, even though Blizzard had decided to make its own official update of the mod for Starcraft II and...you know what? Never mind. It's way too long and convoluted to try and explain in a news blurb.

The point is, the fight over the trademark is now over with. Valve and Blizzard sent out a joint press release today letting everyone know that everything was hunky dory between the two publishers. As per the settlement, Valve gets to keep the DOTA name for whatever commercial uses it might like--such as the eventual release of DOTA 2--and Blizzard fans are A-OK to use the name for any noncommercial projects without fear of legal reprisal. As for the upcoming official DOTA update from Blizzard, that has been renamed Blizzard All-Stars. Because apparently that was the best name they could come up with on short notice.

Blizzard had previously claimed that the DOTA trademark had too much history with Blizzard to be trademarked by another company. They stated in their original complaint that the name DOTA had "become firmly associated in the mind of consumers with Blizzard."

Ultimately, it seems the two parties were able to find common ground they could both work within, and now everybody's happy. While it would have been great for the two companies to figure this stuff out without involving the legal system, that just isn't really how business is done nowadays. At least this one ended quickly, and on a friendly enough note.

#1 Posted by Alex (2380 posts) -
Make that Blizzard All-Stars.

Marking the end of one of the shortest legal battles (more of a skirmish, really) in video game industry history, Blizzard and Valve today came to a mutual agreement over the trademark rights for DOTA. DOTA is, of course, the popular Warcraft III mod that somehow became a commercial sequel in development at Valve, even though Blizzard had decided to make its own official update of the mod for Starcraft II and...you know what? Never mind. It's way too long and convoluted to try and explain in a news blurb.

The point is, the fight over the trademark is now over with. Valve and Blizzard sent out a joint press release today letting everyone know that everything was hunky dory between the two publishers. As per the settlement, Valve gets to keep the DOTA name for whatever commercial uses it might like--such as the eventual release of DOTA 2--and Blizzard fans are A-OK to use the name for any noncommercial projects without fear of legal reprisal. As for the upcoming official DOTA update from Blizzard, that has been renamed Blizzard All-Stars. Because apparently that was the best name they could come up with on short notice.

Blizzard had previously claimed that the DOTA trademark had too much history with Blizzard to be trademarked by another company. They stated in their original complaint that the name DOTA had "become firmly associated in the mind of consumers with Blizzard."

Ultimately, it seems the two parties were able to find common ground they could both work within, and now everybody's happy. While it would have been great for the two companies to figure this stuff out without involving the legal system, that just isn't really how business is done nowadays. At least this one ended quickly, and on a friendly enough note.

#2 Posted by babblinmule (1262 posts) -

Good news all round!

#3 Posted by Baillie (4281 posts) -

Awesome, DOTA 2 will be fully trademarked. Officially the best news ever.

#4 Posted by gamefreak9 (2417 posts) -

good! now release BAS!

#5 Edited by NaDannMaGoGo (338 posts) -

I know you just want to shorten this news Alex but "Blizzard had previously claimed that the DOTA trademark was essentially theirs, despite not actually being theirs." isn't quite the truth.

They did not claim it for themselves.

Anyways, nice to see this resolved.

#6 Posted by Rayeth (1070 posts) -

Alex, you know that DotA was called DotA All-Stars for a large portion of its life as a WC3 mod. Putting the All-Stars name on there is not something they randomly pulled out of a hat. Of course, that wouldn't make a snarky line for your article, but it is the truth.

#7 Posted by Alex (2380 posts) -

@NaDannMaGoGo: That is 100% my bad. I had meant to delete that sentence as I was researching and just forgot. Updated to make sure it reflected accurately.

#8 Posted by DaemonBlade (19 posts) -

This seems to be the best thing that could of happened with this.

#9 Posted by Alex (2380 posts) -

@Rayeth: Aware of the history, still hate the name. It's not quite PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale bad, but bleh.

#10 Posted by Gonmog (602 posts) -

Yeah i agree. Not the best of names. But still im happy they worked it out so that the DOTA name can be used with out any fear. That was all blizzard wanted I want to think.

#11 Posted by Rayeth (1070 posts) -

@Alex: Ok, I can def respect disliking the name (it's not great), just wanted to be sure you were aware of the history.

#12 Posted by GunsAreDrawn (329 posts) -

I thought that Blizzard had given up on doing that Starcraft II dota mod because it seems like it should've been out ages ago. I actually thought that they were going to release their own standalone thing.

#13 Posted by dr_mantas (2050 posts) -

It seems like... Valve won.

Well, I guess everybody won.

#14 Posted by Heylook (235 posts) -

GOOD NEWS EVERYONE

#15 Posted by Winternet (8051 posts) -

Old news, Alex.

#16 Posted by CJduke (799 posts) -

@GunsAreDrawn said:

I thought that Blizzard had given up on doing that Starcraft II dota mod because it seems like it should've been out ages ago. I actually thought that they were going to release their own standalone thing.

nah, they said it was gonna come out with heart of the swarm or around that time

#17 Posted by Zombie_Shakespeare (132 posts) -

I wonder when this actually happened.

Still nice to see they made up, because I didn't follow the dispute.

#18 Posted by RYNO9881 (625 posts) -

Blizzard All Stars is LAAAAAAAME

#19 Posted by Spitznock (597 posts) -

Isn't it wonderful when we all get along? Brings a tear to my eye.

(and I agree, Blizzard All Stars is a pretty horrible name)

#20 Posted by Lurkero (421 posts) -

This case was gonna be a tricky one either way. You REALLY don't want to anger Valve fanatics, but you also REALLY don't want to anger Blizzard fanatics.

#21 Posted by Darknezz (64 posts) -

"Blizzard All-Stars" doesn't come from "the best they could come up with on short notice." It's from the revamp of the original DotA which was called DotA All Stars. It's as well-known in MOBA circles as DotA itself was, and Blizzard is now banking on that name, which is a very smart move on their part.

#22 Posted by mlarrabee (3057 posts) -

We CAN! Group hug!

#23 Posted by cavemantom (217 posts) -

Now, Blizzard and Valve should join forces and find a reason to sue Notch.

#24 Posted by GaspoweR (3475 posts) -

@Darknezz said:

"Blizzard All-Stars" doesn't come from "the best they could come up with on short notice." It's from the revamp of the original DotA which was called DotA All Stars. It's as well-known in MOBA circles as DotA itself was, and Blizzard is now banking on that name, which is a very smart move on their part.

I agree, DOTA for about 5+ years has always been called DOTA All-stars. Naming it "Blizzard All-stars" in itself is a homage. Personally, it sounds a lot better than Blizzard DOTA.

#25 Posted by Slag (4846 posts) -

So basically Blizzard lost

#26 Posted by Lively (311 posts) -

@Slag said:

So basically Blizzard lost

The way that Blizzard issued a pretty amicable press release about this makes me think they didn't really lose. Most likely Valve gave them a chunk of money to make this problem go away.

#27 Posted by Slag (4846 posts) -

@Lively said:

@Slag said:

So basically Blizzard lost

The way that Blizzard issued a pretty amicable press release about this makes me think they didn't really lose. Most likely Valve gave them a chunk of money to make this problem go away.

I'm sure they did, but what you rather have a lump sum or a recurring revenue stream? I dunno I still think Blizzard loses here in the long run.

it will be interesting to see what happens to Riot. I suspect they will be less likely to settle amicably with Valve.

#28 Posted by Lively (311 posts) -

@Slag said:

it will be interesting to see what happens to Riot. I suspect they will be less likely to settle amicably with Valve.

What legal dispute would Riot have with Valve? They're not using the same names for anything.

#29 Posted by kpaadet (413 posts) -

Seems like Blizzard got the short end of the stick, which is weird as I thought Blizzard had the better case of the two.

#30 Posted by Slag (4846 posts) -

@Lively said:

@Slag said:

it will be interesting to see what happens to Riot. I suspect they will be less likely to settle amicably with Valve.

What legal dispute would Riot have with Valve? They're not using the same names for anything.

The sued them anyway over trademarking the DOTA term to my understanding, they want the term to remain unattached to anyone so anyone could be free to use it.

http://www.gosugamers.net/dota/news.php?id=12855

http://www.dotasg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6510

The original Dota All Stars team went onto Riot, IceFrog and some of the later guys went to Valve.

dunno what the status on that Riot/Valve dispute is, it's fairly old.

#31 Posted by Lively (311 posts) -

@Slag: I wonder if Riot would be satisfied with the terms of this agreement, which specifically protect any non-commercial mods with "DOTA" in the title (although I'm not sure if that protection is only in place for mods of Blizzard games).

#32 Posted by bybeach (4992 posts) -

Needed to know the lines.

#33 Edited by Slag (4846 posts) -

@Lively:

maybe, I think they probably don't like anyone locking it down. And I do think that protection as limited to Blizzard mods only if I read the Kotaku story right.

when valve trademarked "DOTA" Riot counter trademarked "Defense of the Ancients", so I don't know how they will resolve that. Riot unlike Blizzard and Valve is also basically a one game company, so they may potentially have more to lose in something like this.

Here was the actual story on Riot's counter on PCgamer btw back in the day (2010 ish)

http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/08/17/riot-games-dev-counter-files-dota-trademark/

#34 Posted by DragonBloodthirsty (470 posts) -

I am pleased to see that some people have not forgotten how to negotiate and compromise.

I think "Blizzard All-Stars" is a dumb name, but I've never really been a fan of "All-Stars" as a name. It's adequate, and that's good enough.

#35 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Short notice? That name has been around for a while, lol. Which makes it all the more stupid.

#36 Posted by UnsolvedParadox (1867 posts) -

Ooh, there's going to be a StarCraft II version? Colour me intrigued.

#37 Posted by outerabiz (666 posts) -

I bet blizzard got invited into Gabe's knife room.

#38 Posted by DoctorWelch (2765 posts) -

Isn't this just Blizzard giving up?

#39 Posted by purspike (37 posts) -

This is most likely a proper mutually beneficial agreement between both parties. Meaning, money might have changed hands either via licensing agreements or actually cash handout. Either way, both parties coming out smelling like roses and none of their interested fans are alienated.

#40 Edited by Root_of_All_Evil (15 posts) -

@DoctorWelch: Of course they are giving up they have no case. Blizzard didn't make DOTA and made no known attempt to acquire the rights from the DOTA developers and if they did they clearly didn't offer enough to entice the devs of DOTA. Their Lawyers Knew they had nothing but Blizzard's Suits didn't care, they lost their potentially free brand because they saw it as a Mod and undeserving of their attention or willingness to compromise in the dev's favor until it was too late and Valve bought the rights.

If all mods were immediately the property of the company who made the game, then Id would own the rights to Team Fortress and TF2 would potentially never be as popular as it is now. This is what IP laws were made for, to protect those who create an idea and in this case it did its job.

#41 Posted by TPoppaPuff (284 posts) -

Blizzard, despite creating the most popular game on the planet, just got bufu'd by Valve. Valve is becoming a more evil version of Activision of the PC market. Actually, they're scarier because they can force whatever policies they please and there's no equivalent PC publishers like Activision has in EA and Ubisoft that can keep them in check from full-blown fascism of the market. You either get on Steam or your PC game is DOA. Don't conform to giving a large portion of profit towards Steam and your game won't make a penny. There's literally like six proper franchises on the PC that can survive without Steam: WoW, ToR, Sims, Diablo, CoD and Starcraft. Everything else should just avoid the PC market unless you'd rather see Valve gain half your profits off a game (slight embellishment).

#42 Edited by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

@TPoppaPuff said:

Blizzard, despite creating the most popular game on the planet, just got bufu'd by Valve. Valve is becoming a more evil version of Activision of the PC market. Actually, they're scarier because they can force whatever policies they please and there's no equivalent PC publishers like Activision has in EA and Ubisoft that can keep them in check from full-blown fascism of the market. You either get on Steam or your PC game is DOA. Don't conform to giving a large portion of profit towards Steam and your game won't make a penny. There's literally like six proper franchises on the PC that can survive without Steam: WoW, ToR, Sims, Diablo, CoD and Starcraft. Everything else should just avoid the PC market unless you'd rather see Valve gain half your profits off a game (slight embellishment).

Without steam core pc gaming would mostly be dead. Also many indie developers would be out of work and mod makers would not be able to make the leap to selling fully featured titles. Tripwire for example.

#43 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

@TPoppaPuff said:

Blizzard, despite creating the most popular game on the planet, just got bufu'd by Valve. Valve is becoming a more evil version of Activision of the PC market. Actually, they're scarier because they can force whatever policies they please and there's no equivalent PC publishers like Activision has in EA and Ubisoft that can keep them in check from full-blown fascism of the market. You either get on Steam or your PC game is DOA. Don't conform to giving a large portion of profit towards Steam and your game won't make a penny. There's literally like six proper franchises on the PC that can survive without Steam: WoW, ToR, Sims, Diablo, CoD and Starcraft. Everything else should just avoid the PC market unless you'd rather see Valve gain half your profits off a game (slight embellishment).

slight embellishment? Hahahaha, that whole paragraph is about as true as a "Congratulations, you're the 1 billionth reader, collect your FREE IPAD" ad.

#44 Posted by Root_of_All_Evil (15 posts) -

@TPoppaPuff: Your post should end with "serious embellishment", Steam has competitors if you have the sense to go a google search and there are plenty of them, but clearly very few are acquiring their Direct Download games from any other source. Why you ask? Well its not access to the games, D2D [which was acquired by Gamefly (and fuck you all for letting that happen to such a great service)] and Gamersgate have loads of games. Origin can't get other games besides EAs because well that wouldn't be smart for other publishers right? Basically people are getting their games from Steam because people clearly like their service better then everyone else and thus they are speaking with their money. If they hated it so much they and you could do that Google search to find other providers right? But your lazy right and Steam is sitting on your desktop and easy you bring up and oh they inform you when they have those sales right. Oh and have you seen how fucking crappy Origin is, how it scans your computer, do you want that shit? I fucking don't, so you can go enjoy it.

#45 Posted by avidwriter (665 posts) -

I give some faith back to Blizzard. I used to hold these two companies as the highest in the industry. Blizzard has been slipping in my eyes lately but this was a nice move for them.

#47 Edited by TPoppaPuff (284 posts) -

@whyareyoucrouchingspock said:

Without steam core pc gaming would mostly be dead. Also many indie developers would be out of work and mod makers would not be able to make the leap to selling fully featured titles. Tripwire for example.

Oh ye of little faith, do you honestly believe PC gaming would be dead? PC gaming satiates a niche audience for which there are no alternatives. On the whole it would be smaller than it currently is, but it would be in a healthier state for the developers. The top level PC games would still have just as high sales. The mid-level devs would be much better off. And the indie devs would shrink or flock further to iOS or Xbox Indie, which means the quality of both services and their offerings would likely increase dramatically. And give MS a reason to support and promote that library/service and by extension those games would reach just as many if not more people than they currently do. Think about it; 360 online population is huge and an indie game that doesn't have to fight the distractions available on a PC could have a better chance of reaching its potential than the numbers on Steam where the vast majority of these games are getting bought by the same individuals who buy these games en masse. Same for iOS devices. Instead of both services being a wasteland for shovelware they would instantly become the de facto services for bite-sized games of a high quality. Instead these games have to struggle to find their own room against a full-fledged big budget title like an SR3 for the same price thanks to a Steam sale.

And while yes the indie developers have benefitted greatly from Steam, they're the only ones. The mid-level big budget titles like SR3 are nowhere near as profitable as they should be. Sales and DLC gets sifted through Valve's grubby hands. They're a publisher on top of a publisher; just another layer to suck money off the top and prevent investment in similar titles because essentially publishers are now unable to viably sell their own games without Steam. It's popularity has killed the ability of publishers to sell their games independantly, which is just part of the reason companies like THQ are dying. And unlike physical retailers where it is literally impossible for every dev to reach the entire consumer base, there is not a major publisher out there that couldn't sell it's own games digitally without Steam. The only difference is now the online consumer base has narrowed its scope to only Steam. If Steam didn't exist as we know it, PC gamers would be far more willing to buy directly from the publishers site.

#48 Posted by probablytuna (3822 posts) -

Glad they could settle all the legal matters and get back to focusing on making games!

#49 Edited by TPoppaPuff (284 posts) -

@Root_of_All_Evil said:

@TPoppaPuff: Your post should end with "serious embellishment", Steam has competitors if you have the sense to go a google search and there are plenty of them, but clearly very few are acquiring their Direct Download games from any other source. Why you ask? Well its not access to the games, D2D [which was acquired by Gamefly (and fuck you all for letting that happen to such a great service)] and Gamersgate have loads of games. Origin can't get other games besides EAs because well that wouldn't be smart for other publishers right? Basically people are getting their games from Steam because people clearly like their service better then everyone else and thus they are speaking with their money. If they hated it so much they and you could do that Google search to find other providers right? But your lazy right and Steam is sitting on your desktop and easy you bring up and oh they inform you when they have those sales right. Oh and have you seen how fucking crappy Origin is, how it scans your computer, do you want that shit? I fucking don't, so you can go enjoy it.

Yeah, that's my point; the alternatives are D2D and Origin, they being the most popular. Steam has no actual competition. Steam has free reign to lord over publishers in the online market as they please. Abide by insane content distrbution rules that monopolize the market or fear the wrath of banishment of what is in all actually the only viable online distribution channel? What kind of options are those?

PS. Steam looks at your computer as well. Hell, Steam even tells you it's gonna do it when you install it, all under the guise of helping them improve customer support.

#50 Posted by TPoppaPuff (284 posts) -

BTW, if Blizzard was willing to "settle" by bending this far over, why even bother pursuing it? Call it what it is; a loss. They didn't save face; they just got whipped and look sad for even trying.

And "Blizzard All-Stars?" Really? Really? Cuz "Blizzard Moba" was that hard to come up with as a backup to Dota? The damn words are interchangeable. Hell, if they played their cards right, Moba could (rightfully) overtake the term Dota as the blanket term for this genre just like the term "FPS" overtook "doom-clone" in the 90s.

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