The jury is out on whether or not DOTA 2 actually belongs to Valve
It’s not very interesting to see a big company take knockoff companies to court to argue that the knockoff companies are violating intellectual property. It is, however, quite interesting when the argument of the knockoff companies is that the big company doesn’t actually own said intellectual property at all… and that claim has some actual basis. There’s no question whether or not Valve owns Dota 2 itself, but there’s some actual legal ambiguity over whether or not the intellectual property of the characters is owned by Valve or not, which is the case being brought to federal court as Valve sues mobile developers Lilith Games and uCool.
The fundamental argument is that the original Dota map made for Warcraft 3 could legally be considered to be abandoned by its creator, which would render the intellectual property public domain. There’s also some basis to argue that as a Warcraft 3 map, everything in the map was already owned by Blizzard and couldn’t be bought and sold in the first place. In other words, it’s a quagmire of specific definitions and legal edge cases, which is sure to delight the more law-minded members of our audience as the case moves forward.