Diablo character sparks a trademark fight between Blizzard and Fox

Blizzard is seeking to block Fox Media from trademarking an animated character named Diablo

When you hear the word ‘Diablo’, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Since you’re here, we’re guessing it’s ‘Lord of Terror’, RPG games, and ‘Stay a while, and listen.’ However, it’s also the name of a character on a new animated series that’s set to premiere this month, setting up a showdown in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office between Blizzard Entertainment and Fox Media.

The show in question is HouseBroken, an animated sitcom about a therapy dog named Honey and her fellow neighborhood pets. One of those is a nervous and obsessive dog named Diablo, voiced by Arrested Development star Tony Hale. Fox has sought to register the name Diablo with the trademark office, presumably to market show-related merchandise including pet food, pet bowls, and/or treat jars.

Blizzard’s attorneys have objected, and seek to block Fox’s application, arguing in their filing that Fox’s use of the term ‘Diablo’ is “likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive,” and would thus be prohibited under federal trademark law.

Blizzard’s filing (.pdf), amusingly, lists at length the critical accolades its hit series has racked up since it first launched in 1997, as well as each piece of DLC released for Diablo, Diablo II, and Diablo III. The notice of opposition also mentions that Blizzard plans to release Diablo Immortal this year, and carefully notes that Diablo IV is currently under development.

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Blizzard’s notice was filed only last week, and so Fox Media’s attorneys have yet to submit a response to the patent office. While we still don’t have a firm Diablo 4 release date, we know that HouseBroken will premiere May 31 on Fox. Diablo II: Resurrected will be out later this year.