Back in February I reported on the legal skirmish between Blizzard and Valve over the use of the name Dota in Valve’s upcoming Dota 2. Well it appears as if the battle is over, and even though Blizzard’s press release says the agreement was mutual, it’s pretty clear Valve came out on top as they’re the ones that get to keep using the name Dota. Blizzard on the other hand has now changed the name of their game from Blizzard Dota to Blizzard All-Stars. I may not be a legal expert, but I’m pretty sure that this all backfired on Blizzard, I mean they are the ones who originally filed and yet they ended up being the ones to change their name while pretty much nothing happened to Valve. Then again, this could all be just a case of, to quote Notch, “lawyers being lawyers.”
In all seriousness, it really doesn’t look like there is a loser here. I mean, of course Valve didn’t want to lose the rights to Dota as Dota 2 is pretty much complete and all but released to the public. Compare this to Blizzard, whose version of the genre Blizzard All-Stars is still in the works. The decision to allow Valve to keep the name while Blizzard changes theirs seems more or less decided based on how far through the production cycles they were. As noted in the press release Blizzard is ok with the name change as it “ultimately better reflects the design of our game.” Which is the legal way of saying, well they’re done and we aren’t so I guess we’ll just change ours.
It all seems silly though, neither Blizzard nor Valve had anything to do with the creation of Dota and yet here they are fighting over the rights to the name. Even though they managed to reach a common sense solution, it seems silly to have even fought over it in the first place. Take a look at the full press release over at Joystiq if you want to see what it looks like when lawyers back peddle.