Unsuccessful troll: The Tim Langdell Story

So there’s this guy, Tim Langdell. He owns a game development and publishing company called Edge Games, celebrated by gamers everywhere for classics like that one game or whatever it was they did before 1994. Because they haven’t actually put out a single title since then.

Boldly undaunted by the negligible inconvenience of having no industry prestige or even anything remotely resembling a proper catalogue, however, Tim Langdell and Edge Games are very much in business. See, in 1984, Tim filed and, by means surely darkly sorcerous for its total lack of sensible reason, was granted an exclusive commercial trademark for the word “edge” in both the UK and US. Basically, he owns the word “edge”, because he claims his company has released a bunch of stuff with the word “edge” in it, including comics and games, and – wait for it – Edge Magazine. If that’s not a sign of an impending – and, frankly, well-deserved – apocalypse of everything everywhere, I’m not sure what is. 

Anyway, since he’s not actually busy making games or anything, Tim spends most of his time pursuing frivolous litigation against anyone else who uses the word “edge” in a product name. For the most part, these have been brought against small independent developers who couldn’t afford to finance a court case, forcing cash settlements instead. How very clever.

But Tim Langdell dreamed big. Frustrated, perhaps, that his company’s enterprises continued to drift like a little turd on the murky peripheries of petty scandal and cheap opportunism, Langdell decided to take EA to court over Mirror’s Edge, filing the claim over his own company’s rather dubious and conspicuously recent “forthcoming attraction”, “MIRRORS, a game by EDGE”. Really. Because, you know, when one of the planet’s biggest game publishers releases a game called Mirror’s Edge, people are obviously going to confuse it with a game they’ve never heard of by a developer they’ve never heard of, who might be working on it at some point maybe, and somebody should totally do something about that.

Needless to say, perhaps, but EA didn’t exactly declare a meek mea culpa, and put stickers over the word “edge” on the twelve billion copies of the game they’d already pushed out to retailers. Instead, they promptly filed a counter-suit, accusing Langdell of fraudulently acquiring his trademark from the US Patent Office with falsified supporting evidence. For example, here is the cover of Tim Langdell’s alleged July 2004 issue of Edge Magazine, alongside the cover of the real July 2004 issue:


It’s so hard to choose a favourite part, but I think I’m going to have to go with the Crayola-esque recolouring of the logo, although its overall grade 8 Life Orientation project finished under the desk during first period design aesthetic comes in a close second.  

There’s more. From the judge’s report of the proceedings:

“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 [US Patent Office] 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.”

In conclusion, of course, the court has just denied Langdell’s injunction against EA and cited him for – seriously, I’m not making this up – “trolling” the industry for licensing exploitation. The court has also proposed that his trademarks be cancelled, pending final agreement from EA and Langdell’s lawyers (which is pretty much inevitable), and further suggested he may face “criminal penalties” for falsifying his application evidence.

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Article courtesy of MyGaming – Edge of Reason: The Tim Langdell Story

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Unsuccessful troll: The Tim Langdell Story