Blizzard and Valve revealed this afternoon that they've resolved their legal spat over the DOTA trademark. As part of their agreement, Valve will be able to keep the title DOTA 2 for their upcoming strategy game.
"DOTA" is an abbreviation of "Defense of the Ancients," a set of fan-made custom maps that originated with WarCraft III. In these maps, teams of players control hero units and attempt to eliminate the enemy team's base. The map type proved so popular that it's spawned entirely new games, including League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth. DOTA 2 is Valve's first foray into that genre.
After Valve tried to trademark the term DOTA, Blizzard filed a notice of opposition. Their position was that Valve was essentially stealing a brand name that had been established by Blizzard's product. They further alleged that Valve's use of the term in DOTA 2 would cause gamers to think that Blizzard somehow supported the product. Blizzard then tried to make their own claim on the name by announcing a new strategy game called Blizzard DOTA.
Today's agreement between the companies confirms Valve's right to use the DOTA name for commercial purposes moving forward. Blizzard, however, will be able to use the term with regards to the fan-made WC3 and StarCraft II maps.
"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. "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."
This legal dispute is, at its heart, a fight between two companies over a term that neither of them is directly responsible for creating in the first place. At the end of the day, I doubt many gamers cared what DOTA 2 or Blizzard All-Stars was called. I'm glad Blizzard and Valve managed to resolve their issues without either of their games being scrapped.