May 14, 2012

Settlement Reached Between Blizzard And Valve On ‘DOTA’ Trademark Dispute

Enid Burns for

Blizzard Entertainment and Valve Software settled a trademark dispute based on four big letters: DOTA. Both video game publishers have game properties that use those same four letters and launched a dispute just last week.

As part of the settlement, both companies will have limited use of the DOTA name. Valve retains rights to the DOTA name for commercial titles. Blizzard will continue to be able to use DOTA for its WarCraft III and StarCraft II player-created maps.

The winners in this argument may just be the gamer, at least according to a statement jointly released by Blizzard and Valve. However it looks as though Valve will be the overall winner in the battle for DOTA. "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," said Rob Pardo, executive vice president of game design at Blizzard Entertainment, in a statement. "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 expressed their satisfaction with the resolution in the same statement. "We're pleased that we could come to an agreement with Blizzard without drawing things out in a way that would benefit no one," said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. "We both want to focus on the things our fans care about, creating and shipping great games for our communities."

Both companies declined to discuss terms of the agreement beyond the issues of which company gets to use the DOTA name.

Blizzard released WarCraft III with a map editor that spawned the title Defense of the Ancients (DOTA). Mods were built under this DOTA name, and also evolved into side-projects known as League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth. Valve took notice and began development of the game DOTA 2, a full title based on the DOTA mods.

Both companies resolved quickly, within a few days of the lawsuit filed by Blizzard.

In the statement, Blizzard's Pardo hinted at more news coming up on Blizzard All-Stars, the succession to Blizzard's DOTA. It is possible the company will announce news at E3, the video game trade show, that happens next month in Los Angeles. The game publisher will potentially show new versions, updates and upcoming features of Blizzard All-Stars in its booth at the show.

Valve will likely also show trailers and beta versions of its DOTA 2 at E3 in its booth.

Last week Blizzard released its first quarter 2012 earnings. The first three months of 2012 ending March 31 brought in lower revenues, compared to the same period the year before. Total net revenues for 2012 totaled $1.2 million, compared to $1.4 million for the first quarter in 2011. Revenues come from both product sales and subscription, licensing and other sources.


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