Claiming that “Defense of the Ancients” should be the property of the gaming community, League of Legends developer Riot Games has contested Valve’s “DOTA” trademark filing.
A week ago, it was revealed that popular PC developer Valve had filed a trademark for something called “DOTA.” Given that Valve had previously hired IceFrog – developer of the popular Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients – to work on a project that make DotA fans “excited,” it didn’t take a codebreaker to venture that Valve was making its own DotA clone.
If some members of the original DotA All-Stars team have a say, though, Valve’s game won’t be using the DotA name. Riot Games, which makes the free-to-play DotA clone League of Legends, filed a competing trademark for Defense of the Ancients that attempts to block any claim Valve would have to the name.
“We have filed for the Defense of the Ancients trademark to protect the work that dozens of authors have done to create the game and on behalf of the millions of DotA players all over the world,” Riot’s Steve “Pendragon” Mescon told PC Gamer.
Mescon and fellow Riot employee Steve “Guinsoo” Feak were two of the original creators of DotA All-Stars, but they think that no entity should have claim to the name – it was a community project, and should stay that way. “…The idea that one single company is taking control of the name of something that hundreds of people have contributed to is surprising,” said Mescon. “I believe DotA should always remain a community-owned product that modders, independent developers and game fans can continue to modify and play as often as they’d like.”
It isn’t that Mescon necessarily thinks that Valve will mishandle the license – he is willing to give the developer the benefit of the doubt based on Valve’s history of supporting the modding community – but that he fears the ownership of the name might negatively affect development of the community-made product.
“I think the best-case scenario would be that nobody owns the trademark to the DotA name … but if Valve were to ultimately gain the rights, I hope that they would abandon the trademark and release it to the community to allow them to continue to modify, play and experience DotA for free. That’s what DotA is all about.”
That, and being mercilessly hostile to new players.