Clinkz - The Bone Fletcher
Photo: DOTA 2 - Clinkz - The Bone Fletcher Rising From his Grave

Games developer Blizzard, the official co-creator of the game "Defense of the Ancients" (DOTA) has, in association with fans of the popular online Role Playing Game "World of Warcraft", legally challenged fellow game developer Valve's move to trademark "Defense of the Ancients" (DOTA) for its new game "DOTA 2".

"By this Opposition, Blizzard seeks to prevent registration by its competitor Valve Corporation of a trademark DOTA, that for more than seven years has been used exclusively by Blizzard and its fan community, under license from Blizzard," stated Blizzard.

DOTA has been a critically acclaimed mod of Blizzard's "Warcraft 3".

In addition, Valve has reportedly poached the longest-serving designer of the mod, "IceFrog", in its bid to create a full-fledged sequel of the original on its digital distribution platform, Steam.

Invoker - One of DOTA's most versatile heroes
Photo: DOTA 2 - Invoker, One of DOTA's most versatile heroes

Meanwhile, Blizzard's version of a real-time action strategy game called "Blizzard DOTA" is also in the works. Blizzard, therefore, could be in a fix if Valve uses the same trademark to register its products, as it could lead to patent litigation and conflicts with marketing rights as well.

Blizzard argued that "for more than seven years" DOTA has been "used exclusively by Blizzard and its fan community, under license from Blizzard". It further argued that "DOTA is built on the Warcraft III engine and utilises the game's interface, and gameplay mechanics; that is comprised of Warcraft III characters, items, spells, artwork, textures, and color palates; that can be played only using Warcraft III software and via Blizzard's online service; and whose name (DOTA, an acronym for 'Defense of the Ancients') is a reference to Warcraft III characters known as the 'Ancients'".

Blizzard further added: "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 3."

The aggrieved game developers filed legal opposition against Valve's DOTA trademark usage on November 16. Valve's delayed response was on December 22.

"Valve is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth or falsity of the remaining averments of this paragraph and, therefore, denies same," said Valve, as part of a conutersuit against Blizzard.

Valve refrained from acknowledging that DOTA held its roots from Warcraft 3 mod, although it did agree that Blizzard owned the copyrights for the game's mods based on its World Editor.

Further reports suggest that both Blizzard and Valve are in the making of DOTA-inspired games. The former's version will be a StarCraft 2 mod, while the latter's DOTA 2 will be a new game built by DOTA creator IceFrog and team.

Gameplanet - screenshot
Photo: Gameplanet

As far as the claims for trademark ownership goes, the fact that DOTA was developed independently - by a community of Warcraft enthusiasts - could mean that neither developer, in fact, has any real ownership right.

So... this leaves us perplexed as to who might win this battle for supremacy?

Expect both games to hit stands this year and, regardless of the legal wrangles, spoil us for choice.

Meanwhile, just chill out with this cool trailer video on Blizzard's DOTA:

Also watch the exciting video trailer on Valve's DOTA 2: