If you keep your ear to the ground when it comes to all things Dota, you are probably aware that there’s a lawsuit going on concerning two developers making unlicensed unauthorized mobile versions of the game. The defendants are trying to argue that Valve doesn’t actually own the rights to Dota.
The lawsuit was launched by Blizzard and Valve against two companies by the name of Lilith Games and uCool. They make Dota legends and heroes child respectively and these are two Chinese mobile games which use characters and ideas from Dota.
uCool have attempted to stop the court case with a call for a partial summary judgement and basically this is their attempt to get rid of the court case without it ever going to trial and their argument is based upon that they are not owning this to Valve. The original trademark for Dota and it’s mod and they don’t actually own the game or the rights to it. They can’t make a claim against uCool. This was shut down by the federal judge Charles Breyer who said that:
“Dota as we all know began live back in 2002 as a Warcraft III mod made by Eul (real name: Kyle Sommer), who created the mod on his own and thus holds the rights to the “setting, heroes, rules, and name.”
The history is actually important for the case as basically modders started to take the best most enjoyable characters from all the other versions of Dota and started to work on a new version of mobile data and then it was took over by another modder who then in 2005 gave the lead development of the Dota to the by the name of icefrog and icefrog was hired by Valve in 2009 and then he sold his rights to Dota 2 in 2010. Valve also hired Yule as well and acquired his rights to the game.
Now as we have said earlier the backbone for the argument behind Valve not actually owning the rights to Dota. In a forum Eul said:
“Instead, from this point forward DOTA is now open source. Whoever wishes to release a version of DOTA may without my consent, I just ask for a nod in the credits to your map.”
However the judges denied the summary meaning it will go to trial and judging from the judges comments he seems very confident that a reasonable jury is going to actually rule in Valve’s favor. Because he say’s it’s now open source.
It seems pretty clear the chain of events that took place Valve to get the rights to Dota and we already had a similar case between Blizzard and Valve with whether or not Blizzard had any rights to it, given the original mod was made on Warcraft 3 but obviously that was settled along time ago. So, it’s not going to end well for the Chinese developers. Time will only tell.