Blizzard will rename DOTA mod to avoid legal issues

Giving fans the experience more important than fighting Valve over trademark

Blizzard is committed to releasing a DOTA mod for StarCraft 2 despite Valve trademarking on the name "Dota" for its forthcoming sequel.

Speaking to Eurogamer at Gamescom, Frank Peace, Blizzard's vice president of product development, said that the company would prefer to rename the product than delay its release with a trademark dispute.

"From my perspective, DOTA is a genre in this space, at this point, and almost a sub genre of the real-time strategy space," Peace said.

"It doesn't seem like something someone would want to trademark, but the US legal system lets people do just about anything they want to try."

DOTA, or Defence of the Ancients, was a mod created for Blizzard's Warcraft 3 that became hugely popular in its own right.

Valve trademarked the name last year after hiring Abdul Ismail - who maintained the original DOTA mod under the pseudonym IceFrog - to lead the development on a sequel, Dota 2.

Last year, Blizzard's Rob Pardo told Eurogamer that, "It just seems a really strange move to us that Valve would go off and try to exclusively trademark the term considering it's something that's been freely available to us and everyone in the Warcraft III community up to this point."

"Valve is usually so pro mod community. It's such a community company that it just seems like a really strange move to us... I really don't understand why [they would do it], to be honest."

Peace wouldn't comment on Blizzard's legal position on the matter, but he insisted that its name is less important to DOTA's identity than the gameplay experience.

"At the end of the day, the name and the label we put on that mod for StarCraft 2 is not as critical as the gameplay experience we create and deliver to the fans. We will not hold back the experience from the fans because of a naming conflict. We'll find a way to get it into the hands of our fans either way."

Dota 2 was unveiled at Gamescom in an invitation-only tournament with a prize of $1 million. Gabe Newell defended Valve's position on the grounds that the name Dota 2 accurately conveys what the product will be, and that the community should be allowed to decide on its propriety.   "The community is usually pretty unambiguous in their opinions about stuff, so, now they've had a chance to see the game they're going to tell us pretty clearly whether they think it's an appropriate name for it," he said.

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Latest comments (8)

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments7 years ago
Isn't this a bit like slating valve for trademarking team fortress?

That was also a mod for a non-valve title that valve hired the developers of and turned into a full title...
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 7 years ago
Isn't it controversial that it wasn't just Icefrog that can claim rights to the Dota name? I never thought that Valve had a good enough claim, tbh. But i guess it would be more expensive to prove this in court than actually just using a different name - which, IMO is a sad state of affairs.

I was pretty sure that there are legal terms in both Blizzard's and Valve's engine editors that state something to do with ownership of mod names/ideas made within those programmes. I should go and look it up...
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Antony Cain Lecturer in Computer Games Design, Sunderland College7 years ago
I remember reading something similar James, good luck with the search but I imagine they've had a lawyer or 2 look it over :)

It was a guy called Eul who made it in the first place; not sure if he has any say in it anymore though

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Antony Cain on 23rd August 2011 12:16pm

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Show all comments (8)
Fabien Roussot Developer, Gunjin Games Ltd7 years ago
I'm glad someone finally chose to be smart over the possibility of a useless law suit.
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Jonatan Crafoord Neuron, That Brain7 years ago
First Mojang's "Let's play Quake"-settlement attempt with Bethesda, now this. I hope we're seeing a trend of constructive solutions to silly legal issues. :-p
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Victoria Mercer Legal Consultant, Lawyer, IP Specialist 7 years ago
That's one solution...
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David Fried Game Designer, Spicy Horse7 years ago
It doesn't deserve the name DOTA 2 anyways. First of all, you're not Defending the Ancients as you are in the original War 3 mod. Second, the gameplay is exactly the same as DOTA 1... It hardly deserves a 2 at the end. Similarly, Starcraft II should be Starcraft 3D plus an expansion Pack. ;P
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