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Court rules in favour of EA over "trolling" Langdell

UPDATED: Edge Games founder submitted doctored box art and magazines to support trademark

A US district court has thrown out Edge Games boss Tim Langdell's attempted injunction against publisher EA.

Langdell has attempted to prevent a number of games from using the word 'edge' in their titles, claiming he owns the trademark to the word despite his so-named firm having released no titles for some 16 years.

His requested injunction against EA for Mirror's Edge has been denied by California's Judge Alsup, with the court suggesting he could later face criminal charges for earlier actions.

The court agreed with EA's assertion that Langdell had been deceiving the US patent office.

"Because plaintiff has failed to establish that it is likely to succeed on the merits that it is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief," read court documents obtained by GamesIndustry.biz, "that the balance of equities tips in its favor, or that an injunction is in the public interest, the motion for a preliminary injunction is denied."

"Given the suspect nature of Dr. Langdell's representations to both the USPTO and the Court concerning plaintiff's current and future sales and business activities, it is an open question whether plaintiff's business activities legitimately extend beyond trolling various gaming-related industries for licensing opportunities."

The court was also shown that Langdell had apparently submitted a faked cover of Edge magazine, which referenced his own products and organisation, as part of of his 2004 application for continuing trademark rights to the word 'edge.'

"EA also presents compelling evidence that there was no bona fide use of the "EDGE" mark in commerce by plaintiff, its licensees, or its predecessors in interest at all between 1989 and to at least 2003," wrote Judge Alsup.

"Even after 2003, the evidence that plaintiff had been making bona fide use of the "EDGE" mark in commerce is suspect. For example, Dr. Langdell's declaration asserted that Edge Games has been selling the video game Mythora (supposedly bearing the "EDGE" mark) since 2004.

"Curiously, while the exterior packaging submitted by Dr. Langdell to the USPTO for the Mythora video game included a website address, this website wasn't even registered by Edge Games until October 2008 - nearly four years after the game's purported release."

The court also found that Langdell had submitted a number of other doctored game boxes, revised to now display various versions of the trademarks he claimed to hold, in order to support his patent applications.

EA said in a statement to IndustryGamers that it was "pleased with the opinion issued by the court. We hope that this case serves as a milestone in protecting independent developers from nuisance litigation."

While Langdell's case vs EA has been thrown out, litigation against him is yet to be resolved - with the Judge observing that "the record contains numerous items of evidence that plaintiff wilfully committed fraud against the USPTO in obtaining and/or maintaining registrations for many of the asserted "EDGE" marks, possibly warranting criminal penalties if the misrepresentations prove true."

More on the ruling and the what it could mean for Langdell's future, can be read here.

Related stories

US Patent Office cancels “Edge” trademarks

A court order sees all of Tim Langdell's Edge trademarks canceled

By Mike Williams

Langdell kicked out of IGDA

Plus Edge Games boss' Associate Professor page on university website disappears

By Alec Meer

Latest comments (43)

Bostjan Troha CEO, Zootfly6 years ago
I really hope Langdell faces criminal prosecution. Go do something useful.
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Antony Cain Lecturer in Computer Games Design, Sunderland College6 years ago
EA said in a statement that it was "GG Langdell"

Weren't they moving to have his rights to "Edge" removed entirely?
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Now EA have the edge? :)
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Show all comments (43)
Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany6 years ago
Nice way to start the day; with the possibility of this guy going to jail.

Looking forward to it.
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Stephen Northcott Senior Consulting Engineer 6 years ago
Fantastic news!

I don't particularly like EA, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend in this case.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D6 years ago
Awesome!
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Lol, this has just made my day
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Iain Lowson Writer 6 years ago
Best news in a long time.

Does anyone know if he was in court for the decision? I would dearly love to see photos or footage of the look on his face...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Iain Lowson on 5th October 2010 12:42pm

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Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts6 years ago
"Don't feed the troll"

kthxbai
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Justice done. Langdell is deluded. Had the pleasure of meeting him many times and working 'for' him in 86-87 and I can honestly say it was an experience. The intervening years don't seem to have helped him. He had a mad wife called Cheri. I once told both of them to 'F off' when they pushed me too far. The best incident was preventing him from accessing the stock we had built for him because he had not paid his bills for the umpteenth time. It never got physical, just hilarious to see him shouting and banging at our door to no avail. When he finally paid up, I made it a condition that he took all of his stock away. We made it 'available' from our car park. The look on his face when he furned up in his estate car to collect 36 pallets of old junk was priceless.
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Jonathan Lindsay Creative Director, Playomic6 years ago
@ Andy Payne

That story is pure class, made my day :)
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 6 years ago
I hope their trademark on the word 'Edge' is thrown out entirely, and they are ordered to pay back all accumulated funds earned through this questionable practice.

I bet Langdell wishes he'd never tried to take on EA now. He might be able to bully indies or smaller companies, but going up against a multibillion international publisher is something else entirely.

Does he really have the title 'Doctor' though?! Was that earned, or bought?
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Stewart Gilray Managing Director, Just Add Water6 years ago
He even tried to take a friend of mine to court, as my friend was making a PC remake of Fairlight (6 years ago?) to which Bellend said was getting in the way of their own re-release/re-make of said game, where is it Tim?!
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 6 years ago
Wait he also faked the Edge magazine covers and also box art?

What the heck is this, playschool? Hah!

Definitely some of the best news I've heard for a long while.

And Terence judging by what's said here probably a doctored doctrate if you get what I'm saying. ;P
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Josef Brett Animator 6 years ago
Whoops. Bet he didn't expect that result...
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Private Industry 6 years ago
Finally he is starting to lose the edge. :)
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Martin Piper Owner, Replica Software6 years ago
This is indeed good news.
When Langdell tried to trick Mobigame by abusing his position as an IGDA board member it lead to him being forced out of the IGDA board. He should have stayed off the radar after that, but then he tried to troll EA and that was definitely the straw that broke the camel's back. I think the IGDA should now finish the job and force him out of the organisation.
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Matt Martin Editor, GamesIndustry.biz6 years ago
We've just posted this piece in the GI blog for further reading: http://bit.ly/c7oeAC
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Alex Kitching AI Programmer, Dark Energy Digital6 years ago
This gave me a good chuckle!
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Tahir Rashid Director, Electric Tophat6 years ago
This is really good news. I am glad that he has been exposed as a fraud in the courts. When I worked with him he did nothing but screw developers out of money and exploited them.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tahir Rashid on 5th October 2010 2:03pm

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Mark Fisher Operations Director / COO, HotGen Ltd6 years ago
@ Andy...

LOL.
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James Poole Managing Director, Sarcastic Hedgehog Ltd6 years ago
Fantastic news. Sanity at last
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Brian Beuken LEcturer, NHTV6 years ago
Ha Ha Ha...oh I hope your reading this Tim.

just to make sure you get it

HA HA HA HA!!

I'm still waiting for that lawyers letter?
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Lets see how many edge based games can finally see the light!
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Chris O'Regan Director and Co-Founder, Silver Hound Productions6 years ago
If ever there was a man who consistently broke Wheaton's Law, it's Dr Langdell. It just goes to show what happens when you do such a thing...
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Private Industry 6 years ago
Dr Langdell? He has a doctor title? Btw. Dell should have sued him because he is using the trademarked Dell in his name :D
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Nicola Searle Senior Knowledge Exchange Associate, University of Abertay Dundee6 years ago
I'm a bit confused by this report. It appears that Langdell is trying to assert a dubious trademark. What are the "copyright of the word" and "patent applications" the article refers to?
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Miguel Melo Principal Software Engineer/Product Manager 6 years ago
VAT going up 2% here in Portugal doesn't sound as bad after this bit of news. There is hope for humanity after all.
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Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Rebellion Developments6 years ago
Haha this is great news. The guy is a joke.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
I knew Tim in the early 80s when he had an office in Covent Garden, luckily had no business dealings with him because those that did told interesting stories. The games industry is a village and as such is enriched by the characters within it. If everyone was boring corporate suits then where would we be?

Tim's big problem now is that he will have to pay his own and EAs costs. He probably represented himself so no costs there. But the EA costs will be massive, they will of had a team top lawyers working on this for many months. So a substantial 6 figure sum. Ouch!
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Edge's Edge: The Edge. Coming soon...
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 6 years ago
That MMO based on U2 has finally been given the green light...
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Gonzalo Figueroa Game Designer, CNG Studios6 years ago
Finally, awesome news.. let's hope he gets the message.
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Alex Kitching AI Programmer, Dark Energy Digital6 years ago
Glad this finally got settled. I've been on the edge of my seat ever since... *OOPS*
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 6 years ago
He is not "claiming copyright of the word" Edge. He's claiming the word is his trademark.

Get your facts straight if you're gonna write a story.
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Paul Shirley Programmers 6 years ago
@Bruce Everiss: Sadly the US legal system doesn't automatically do "loser pays", though EA is free to argue for it based on the evident fraud. Without seeing the judgement or the case actually being final we don't know if Tim will be paying anything.

This is why he set up business in the states, because costs are so hard to recover it's very easy to bully victims with spurious legal threats. In the UK he'd have been bankrupt after the first trip to court.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Shirley on 5th October 2010 6:42pm

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Micah Ian Wright Game Writer 6 years ago
You can see the Court's full statement on Justia:
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/dis...
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Max Priddy6 years ago
This picture says it best methinks:

http://i54.tinypic.com/oi4xj.png
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Johnny Gamer Development 6 years ago
Strong language in the court statement:

"...compelling evidence that the asserted marks were fraudulently registered..."

"All of its representations regarding the validity and use of the asserted marks are infected by evidence of deceit."

"Dr. Langdell’s assertions in his declaration were materially misleading or downright false. These falsehoods infect all of Dr. Langdell’s assertions regarding the bona fide and continuous use of the asserted marks..."

Rather than a business model of trolling and suing EA, Marvel, Namco, Mobigame and others (and committing fraud in the process), maybe making games that people want to purchase is a better route.
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Joe Bognar Junior PR Manager, Techland6 years ago
This is a very good EDGEucational story.
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Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 6 years ago
Morning coffee, cheese toasty, Hangover-bullet successfully dodged, Tim Langdell possibly going to jail...
what a lovely way to start the day!
:)
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Paul Wrider Director of Game Design, Disney Interactive Media Group6 years ago
Tim Langdell's association with IGDA was just one of many reasons I stopped being a member.

Tardie - you worked for him? You poor bastard!

-Paul
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Mario Rodriguez Gonzalez Game Evaluation Analyst, Electronic Arts6 years ago
This gave me more energy to start the day than morning coffee. I certainly do hope he at the very least he has his trademarks stripped from him, so he can never come up with this again. Him going to jail would be the sweet cherry topping in an awesome pie of win, too.
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