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Blizzard opposes Valve  Dota  name registration
Blizzard opposes Valve Dota name registration
February 10, 2012 | By Mike Rose

February 10, 2012 | By Mike Rose
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    17 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



It came to light this week that Blizzard has challenged Valve's move to secure the U.S. trademark to the Defense of the Ancients name, despite previously saying that it was not planning to do so.

Back in 2010, Valve revealed that it was working on Dota 2, a sequel to the original Warcraft III mod. Blizzard said that it was confused by the move, but later confirmed that it had no plans to challenge Valve, as it wanted to sidestep a trademark dispute.

However, Blizzard filed a U.S. trademark opposition to Valve's registration of the Dota name late last year, as spotted by NeoGAF. The company is looking to prevent Valve from registering and using the name in its upcoming game.

In the filing, Blizzard explains that the Dota name has been exclusively used by Blizzard and its community for more than seven years, and therefore has become associated with Blizzard and its game Warcraft III.

"Valve Corporation has never used the mark Dota in connection with any product or service that currently is available to the public," it continued.

"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."

"Valve has no right to the registration it seeks. If such registration is issued, it not only will damage Blizzard, but also the legions of Blizzard fans that have worked for years with Blizzard and its products, including by causing consumers to falsely believe that Valve's products are affiliated, sponsored or endorsed by Blizzard and are related or connected to Warcraft III."

Later in the filing, Blizzard further explains, "Valve has never released, distributed, or sold any products using the mark Dota, or, for that matter, any of the Dota Marks. Valve did not coin the Dota mark and has never participated in the creation of the Dota Mods. Indeed, Valve has never released, distributed, or sold any products using any title that might conceivably be shortened to the acronym Dota."

It concludes, "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."


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Comments


Tomas Majernik
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Reasonable arguments by Blizzard. Although I don`t belive they will be successful here. :/

Chris OKeefe
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I actually have greater respect for Valve than I have ever had for Blizzard, but even in (or perhaps because of) my limited understanding of copyright law, this just seems bizarre. Still, it's curious that this article doesn't provide any opposing arguments from Valve. Surely there are some?

Darcy Nelson
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Yeah, weird. No response from Valve yet...?

warren blyth
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(post deleted - realized I was basically ranting, and I'm not a lawyer. so it's probably not a great contribution.)



... here's a question though:

Isn't it creepy (from a precedent perspective) that Blizzard is claiming they can trademark the names of their community's mods?



Specifically, their Notice of Opposition reads: "First, since at least 2003, Blizzard has used the DOTA Marks extensively and consistently in interstate commerce. [...] For example, Blizzard has offered for download the DotA Mods directly via the Battle.net network and/or the Blizzard.com and/or Warcraft.com websites."



Am I misunderstanding? or are they saying that mentioning the mod on their website is interstate commerce?

warren blyth
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(post deleted)

Tomas Majernik
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From the official notice - Warcraft III's EULA clearly specifies that all underlying intellectual property rights in and to Warcraft III are owned by Blizzard:



"All title, ownership rights, and intellectual property rights in and to the Program and any and all copies thereof (including, but not limited to, any titles, computer code, themes, objects, characters, character names, stories, dialog, catch phrases, locations, concepts, artwork, animations, sounds, musical compositions, audiovisual effects, methods of operation, moral rights, any related documentation, and `applets' incorporated into the Program) are owned by Blizzard or its licensors."



Based on this, they claimed it even before any mods have been created.



As for "mentioning the mod" - Blizzard allowed players to share this mod via their service Battle.net (download it, play with/against each other). What is more, to play this mod, You first had to have Your copy of Warcraft 3 game. So by promoting this mod (using Your words "mentioning"), they were actualy selling the original game. This is more than enough for me.



At last, if You read the notice (here http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=91202572&pty=OPP&eno=1), Blizzard "...believes that it will be damaged by

the registration of the mark that is the subject of Application Serial No. 85/102245, ..." So the whole point is, they don`t want Valve to "own" this name, which has been for a long time associated and promoted by Blizzard itself, as they belive some players might think DOTA 2 is (will be) created by Blizzard, what could in fact boost sales of Valve`s game and at the same time lower the sales or the next Blizzard`s game DOTA (or however it is going to be named).

Cody Scott
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Blizzard is not applying for the trademark themselves, they are applying for a block. Dota is associated with WCIII and therfore associated with blizzard. Dota2 will confuse consumers on who it belongs to.



DOTA is also a game type now. it would be like valve trying to trademark football, or FPS.

Licentae Libertas
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I suppose the bigger question is : Has Blizzard ever officially used DOTA as a mark? As far as I understood, Dota was just a mod for warcraft 3 and that Blizzard just cashed in on the popularity of the mod, not something "official" from Blizzard.

Richard Eid
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Why is everyone reporting on this today? The filing was done three months ago. In fact, a judgement should be handed out soon. It's all here:



http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=91202572&pty=OPP



By the way, Valve has responded. This is funny, though. Kotaku writes an article about something that happened three months ago and every blog out there runs a story on it today. LOLz

Eric Lunden
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I have lost all respect for Blizzard

David Campbell
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I have lost all respect for people named Eric Lunden.



Illogical biases makes the world go round!

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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90%++ of modders don't make ANYTHING. WE STARVE TO DEATH. Blizzard uses modders like everyone else, to fill their pockets, instead of doing something about it and figuring out a way to share profits.



Suddenly a modder says they can no longer support starving to death and decide to do something about it, instead of being encouraged to take what they've learned and their IP to make money, Blizzard slams them with legal issues.



I find it strange Blizzard outright takes a mod's name, even in acronym form and claims it as their own, "Blizzard DotA". I'm curious if Valve had been doing DotA 2 first or they had been doing Blizzard DotA first.



I would be highly shocked if Blizzard can somehow claim the mod's name through the EULA or uploading it to their service. However, not being able to make money/commercial commerce, most modders have no trademark rights what so ever. My own mods, which I worked on for nearly a decade, had the name used in other companies' work.



If anything this may cause modders to leave Blizzard in the short term, but Blizzard will regain them perhaps with future ways of making money, as most mod based engine companies appear to be doing by default. And with something like this appearing and moddable engines making so much money, money sharing should become much more common

Aleksander Adamkiewicz
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"Suddenly a modder says they can no longer support starving to death and decide to do something about it, instead of being encouraged to take what they've learned and their IP to make money, Blizzard slams them with legal issues."



Afaik, nobody is sueing a modder. The "modder" (IceFrog) gets compensation from Valve anyways, if they get to use DOTA2 as a name or not.



The modder, now turned game developer, looses nothing.

This is completely between Valve and Blizzard about a name and IP rights.



Last time I checked being a Lead Developer backed by a multi-million dollar publisher paid pretty well. So nobody is starving here. I'm pretty sure IceFrog has not been working for free for the past years.



Playing the victim small dev card here makes no sense.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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Also, while IceFrog may be able to claim the name in some way, I read somewhere that Eul is working at Valve, who created DotA? It appears DotA 2 is then possible and is already released.



I think Blizzard's main concern here is their own StarCraft: Blizzard DotA and WarCraft: DotA. Which is understandable.



Currently this is more in Valve's favor IMO, but could turn into a tricky legal battle. Either way, Valve and Blizzard are synonymous with pc gaming. Customers are not confused on their products.

David Campbell
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IceFrog has *zero* claim to any trademark or copyright involving DotA. He became involved in it's development long after it was named, established, and had already changed hands before.



As it stands, only Blizzard or the mod's original creator (Eul) could have any claim whatsoever. If Eul does work for Valve as seems may be the case then that is their only ground to stand on. So far though Valve hasn't really made any claims for itself, only denied Blizzard's claims.



Generally a EULA for something like a map editor is more about protecting the company's IP than trying to take other's work. It usually grants them a license to use and redistribute a mod, but they can't claim ownership of original content (though of course they keep firm rights on anything in the editor created by them, which is why Valve has to be careful in keeping it's DotA2 characters different enough from War3 ones). If Disney makes a Mickey Mouse mod for Starcraft 2, Blizzard doesn't get rights to Mickey Mouse. But they do gain a license to distribute that map over Battle.net and probably to promote it as well using whatever assets are contained within it.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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I thought it was always called, "Defense of the Ancients", in WarCraft and not, "DotA"?



And how has Defense of the Ancients or DotA been used in commerce? Which as far as I know is required for a trademark. But then again maybe it's possible for a free org to claim it?

jayvee inamac
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@Curtis... IIRC, Riot Games (LoL) tried to claim "defense of the ancients"


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