Edge Games

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Edge Games, Inc.
Type Private Company
Industry Computer and video game industry
Founded 1990
Headquarters Pasadena, California, USA
Key people Tim Langdell (CEO and Founder)
Website www.edgegames.com
www.edgegames.co.uk

Edge Games is a video game developer and publisher headquartered in Pasadena, California, known for the litigious practices of its chief executive and founder, Tim Langdell, in enforcing their trademarks relating to the word "edge".[1][2] In 2010, Edge Games sued Electronic Arts for trademark infringement,[3] but eventually settled, with Edge surrendering many of its registrations.[4]

History[edit]

Edge Games was founded in California in 1990 by Tim Langdell. At that time, it acquired the intellectual property assets of Langdell's former company, Softek Software, itself founded in 1980 in London, England.[5] Softek's catalog includes several games, including: Fairlight, released in 1985, and Garfield: Big Fat Hairy Deal, released in 1987.

Until the availability of Racers for the PC in 2009,[6] Edge Games had not released a new title since 1994,[7][8] though the Edge website states that two other multi-platform titles: Mirrors,[8] and Mythora 2 are "coming soon", as are the PlayStation 3 and other platform versions of Racers. The website also states that they are porting some of their Commodore 64 games to WiiWare. As of 2014, none of these titles have been released.

Trademark disputes[edit]

Edge Games and Edge Interactive Media have been involved in a number of disputes over the "EDGE" trademark.

Edge (iPhone game)[edit]

In May 2009, game developer Mobigame's iPhone title Edge[9] was removed from Apple's App Store in the US and the UK due to lawsuit threats by Tim Langdell. According to Mobigames, the dispute arose while they were trying to register a trademark for Edge in the US, while Langdell claims he owns the global trademark on "Edge".[10]

According to the email dialogue between Langdell and Mobigames head David Papazian, shared with Eurogamer, Langdell delivered an ultimatum to Mobigames in exchange for a promise not to litigate. If they changed the game's name, he demanded 25% of the game's revenue for the time the title was on sale under the name "Edge", and if they licenced the Edge name, they would give him 10% of the game's revenue in perpetuity and subtitle it "An Homage To [Edge Games title] Bobby Bearing", with the Edge Games logo on the title screen. Papazian claims that he suggested the alternative title "Edgy", but that this was rejected by Langdell as too similar to "Edge". Edge Games subsequently registered "Edgy" as a trademark. An Edge Games spokesperson, writing from Tim Langdell's personal email address and signing off as "Tim Langdell", claims that their registration was the result of a misunderstanding "probably in part caused by David Papazian's less than perfect English".[11] However, many journalists who talked with David Papazian confirmed that Papazian's English is "absolutely flawless" [12]

On the June 18, 2009, it was reported that the game had been restored to the App Store with its original name intact,[13] though later reports indicated that the game had once again been pulled in July 2009,[14] and Mobigames confirmed that they had voluntarily withdrawn the game while considering their options.[11] Mobigames' lawyer, speaking to Eurogamer, stated that "Mobigame's position is that the trademarks owned by Edge Games are not enforceable against Mobigames or any third party in respect of the distribution of the Edge game," because "there is unlikely to be any confusion or association between them and Mobigame's game" and those trademarks "are liable to be revoked".[11]

Soon after, Edge Games published an "open letter" on its website claiming that several of the statements in the Eurogamer article were false.[15] Mobigames' lawyers issued a response to the effect that the Eurogamer article is accurate and that Edge Games's rebuttal is false, and stated that they were gathering evidence to demonstrate that communications Edge Games claims, in its rebuttal, to have made did not actually occur.[16]

The game was eventually put back on the App Store in UK and US markets on October 7, 2009, under the title Edge by Mobigame. Speaking with Kotaku, Papazian said, "on the legal side, (Langdell) cannot claim anything against "Edge by Mobigame" and Apple knows that, so we hope everything will be alright now."[17]

On November 26, 2009, Edge by Mobigame was again removed from the App Store.[18] An unnamed Edge Games representative stated "Adding 'by Mobigame' was determined not to get around infringement." [19] On December 1, 2009, the game returned to the App Store under the name Edgy,[20] but Mobigame soon removed it for fear that Langdell would use the legal precedent in his legal battle against EA.[21]

In May 2010, Edge by Mobigames returned to the App store under the name Edge. MobiGame had the following to say regarding the ongoing legal battle:

Thanks to us the word "edge" is now free to exist on the App Store like on any other marketplace, and games like Mirror's Edge, Shadow Edge, Killer Edge Racing or Edge by Mobigame can live on our iDevices.[22]

Electronic Arts petition for trademark cancellation[edit]

In September 2009, Electronic Arts petitioned the US Patent & Trademark Office to cancel a range of registrations associated with Edge Games.[23] EA's petition came after continued threats of legal action by Edge Games with respect to the title of EA's 2008 game Mirror's Edge, despite EA's ownership of common law trademark rights to the phrase. In a statement, EA announced that "While this seems like a small issue for EA, we think that filing the complaint is the right thing to do for the developer community."[2][24] Tim Langdell responded to these claims in an e-mail statement on September 30 claiming that Edge had in fact not threatened EA with litigation and that 2009 had been spent negotiating an amicable settlement on the use of the trademark. Langdell went on to accuse EA of using the settlement talks to "play for time", and claimed that EA had abandoned efforts to register "Mirror's Edge" as a trademark in September 2008.[25] According to a report by gaming blog Kotaku, the USPTO database listed the trademark "Mirror's Edge" as "abandoned" as of September 8, 2009. An EA spokesman said the company had been unsuccessful in its attempt to resolve the dispute, which led to the filing of the petition.[26] In June 2010, Edge Games filed a lawsuit against Electronic Arts over Mirror's Edge, requesting damages and a court injunction against further infringement.[27]

On October 1, 2010 the United States District Court for the Northern District of California rejected the request for a preliminary (i.e. immediate) injunction.[3] In the ruling Judge William Alsup agreed with EA's assertion that Langdell had been deceiving the Patent and Trademark 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, 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 allegedly submitted a cover of Future Publishing's Edge magazine doctored to include references to his own products and organisation as part of his 2004 application for continuing trademark rights to the word 'edge.' The court suggested that he could face criminal charges for these actions.

Judge Alsup continued, "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."[3]

On October 7, 2010, it was reported that a US judge was reviewing a final judgement that would strip Langdell of his trademarks for "edge", "cutting edge", "the edge" and "gamer's edge", without any admission of wrongdoing on Langdell's part.[28] On October 11, 2010, it was reported that Langdell was to lose his trademarks, potentially leaving him open to legal action from other companies to whom his legal threats may have incurred losses or expenses.[29] In filings at the USPTO, it was stated that lawsuit had ended in a settlement, in which Langdell would surrender the trademarks reported previously but would not be found guilty of any wrongdoing.[4] An appeal to the Federal Circuit was filed, but voluntarily dismissed.[30]

Future Publishing[edit]

In 2011, it was revealed that Future Publishing, the publishers of Edge magazine, had brought suit against Langdell in the United Kingdom for breach of contract, breach of copyright, and passing off through his use of the Edge magazine logo and his representations of his connection with the magazine. Future had licensed the trademark for the use of the word Edge in magazines from Langdell in 1993, when launching the magazine. The publisher bought the relevant part of the trademark from Langdell outright in 2005. In the intervening years, Future claimed, Langdell had co-opted the magazine's logo as his own, and claimed to have been involved in the creation or publication of the magazine. The action succeeded in all claims, in a decision that described Langdell's own evidence as "invention", "incredible", "totally unconvincing", and "concocted".[31][32] In two lengthy missives sent to online games publications, Langdell indicated that he had lodged an appeal, placing the blame for his actions with Future and the responsibility for his loss with a "gullible" judge [33] who had made "almost 100 errors of fact and law".[34] Future, in turn, indicated that it had not been served with any new proceedings but had received permission to pursue contempt of court proceedings against Langdell.[35]

Other[edit]

In 2001, Edge sought revocation of Namco's United Kingdom trademark "Soul Edge" (for the arcade game Soul Edge) for reasons including an alleged similarity between the Edge and Soul Edge marks. The opposition failed on all grounds. Nevertheless, Namco had already decided to use the name 'Soul Blade' for the PlayStation version in the United States and Europe to avoid potential complications, with the name Soul Calibur being used on all sequels due to this.[36]

In March 2009, Cybernet Systems Corporation filed a lawsuit in Federal court against Edge.[37] In the suit, Cybernet states that they were contacted by Tim Langdell beginning in January 2009 and that he asserted his ownership of the term "Edge." The suit also alleges that Langdell asserted his right to have the trademark for Cybernet's "Edge of Extinction" game assigned to Edge Games, and his further right to require Cybernet to enter into a paid license agreement with him due to their use of the name. Cybernet refused, and when Langdell threatened a lawsuit, Cybernet instead filed suit against Edge.[38] "Edge of Extinction" was released in 2001, and is no longer an active game.[39][40]

As of June 1, 2009, Edge Games applied for a US trademark for the phrase, "Edge of Twilight."[41] This is the name of an upcoming steampunk fantasy game that has been in development by Fuzzyeyes Studios for at least two years.[42][43]

In addition, Edge has been a plaintiff in lawsuits with New World Computing over their title Planet's Edge,[44] Marvel Entertainment over their titles Cutting Edge, Double Edge, and Over the Edge,[45][46] Sony Entertainment over their PlayStation Edge,[47] Edge Tech Corporation over their "The Edge" hardware,[48] and John Coates over his EdgeGamers online community.[49] Edge's website also claims that the aforementioned Marvel comics, the movie The Edge, the video game Cross Edge and the UK magazine Edge were all released under license from Edge Games, though it isn't clear what, if any, involvement Edge or Langdell had in these products.[50]

In 2011 & 2012, Langdell entered into a legal dispute over naming rights with EdgeGamers Organization, an online gaming community. EdgeGamers Organization won, and currently own trademarking rights for EdgeGamers.[51]

In 2014, Edge Games began a trademark case against the game peripherals company Razer, regarding its Razer Edge gaming tablets. Edge filed an application for "SL8" in tablets in 2012, serial number 85704825, indicating that it would sell Windows 8 tablets at some point.[1]

Removal from IGDA board[edit]

In July 2009, members of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) began circulation of a petition calling for a special meeting of the membership to vote on the removal of Langdell from that organization's board of directors citing, among other things, his use of his position on the IGDA to "work directly against the mission of the organization."[52][53] In late August, the IGDA announced that a special meeting of the membership would be held on October 3, the sole purpose of which was to vote on whether Langdell should be removed,[54] and on August 31, 2009, Langdell resigned from the IGDA board.[55] Langdell had served on the board since March 2009.[54] On October 13, 2010, his IGDA membership was terminated due to his "...lack of integrity or unethical behavior, as determined by the Board of Directors."[56][57]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Purchese, Robert (2010-03-25). "EA wants all EDGE Games trademarks News • News •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  2. ^ a b Charny, Ben (September 29, 2009). "EA Gets Aggressive In 'Edge' Trademark Spat With Game Maker". NASDAQ. Retrieved September 30, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Edge Games, Inc. v. Electronic Arts Inc". Dockets.justia.com. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/ttabvue-92051465-CAN-32.pdf
  5. ^ http://smtp1.patent.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-find/t-challenge-decision-results/o37299.pdf
  6. ^ "Video Games Killed the Racing Star". Chaos Edge. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Game Browser: Edge, The". Moby Games. Retrieved July 29, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Owen Good (2009-05-30). "Trademark Troll Gets Mobigames' EDGE Taken Down". Kotaku.com. Archived from the original on 2013-08-19. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  9. ^ "Mobigame.net". Mobigame.net. Retrieved September 2, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Update: Edge Pulled Over Alleged Trademark Infringement - Gaming on the iPhone and iPod Touch". Finger Gaming. May 28, 2009. Retrieved June 1, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c Parkin, Simon (August 3, 2009). "The Edge of Reason?". Eurogamer. Retrieved August 3, 2009. 
  12. ^ Dunn, Matt (August 4, 2009). "Edge Lawsuit: New Info!". 
  13. ^ "Mobigames' EDGE returns to App Store". Touch Arcade. June 18, 2009. 
  14. ^ Yu, Derek (July 15, 2009). "Tim Langdell and Edge Games: Still at It". The Independent Gaming Source. Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  15. ^ Edge or Edgy: Part Two. "| | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  16. ^ Mobigame: ‘Edge Games’s open letter is false’, Pocket Gamer
  17. ^ "Mobigame's "Edge" is Back on iTunes". Kotaku.com. October 7, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  18. ^ Dredge, Stuart (November 26, 2009). "iPhone game Edge disappears from App Store (again)". Mobiel Entertainment. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  19. ^ Crossley, Rob (November 27, 2009). "Langdell: ‘Edge by Mobigame’ isn’t fair". develop-online.net. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  20. ^ Crossley, Rob (December 1, 2009). "Edge arrives on App Store for third time". develop-online.net. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  21. ^ Crossley, Rob (December 4, 2009). "Mobigame to pull Edgy amid EA legal fears". develop-online.net. Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  22. ^ "'Edge' Back on the App Store Again And on Sale". 
  23. ^ "EA takes up Edge trademark fight". gamesindustry.biz. September 30, 2009. Retrieved September 30, 2009. 
  24. ^ 3 Comments. "EA Looking to Get Edge Trademark Thrown Out". IndustryGamers. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  25. ^ Chalk, Andy (September 30, 2009). "Tim Langdell Responds to EA Trademark Petition". EscapistMagazine.com. Retrieved September 30, 2009. 
  26. ^ Good, Owen (September 29, 2009). "Electronic Arts Sues to Cancel Langdell's Trademarks". Kotaku. Retrieved September 30, 2009. 
  27. ^ Chase, Ayinde (June 16, 2010). "Edge Games suing EA over Mirror's Edge video game, trademark issues". All Headline News. Retrieved June 16, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Tim Langdell Set to Lose 'Edge' Trademarks". 1up.com. October 7, 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  29. ^ Andy Chalk (Oct 11, 2010). "Langdell Loses Trademarks in Finalized Judgment". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  30. ^ "USPTO TTABVUE. Proceeding Number 92051465". Ttabvue.uspto.gov. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  31. ^ "Tim Langdell Loses In Future "Edge" Trial". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  32. ^ "Future Publishing Ltd v The Edge Interactive Media Inc & Ors [2011] EWHC 1489 (Ch) (13 June 2011)". Bailii.org. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  33. ^ "Edge Of Our Seats: The Return Of Dr Langdell". Rockpapershotgun.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  34. ^ Dutton, Fred. "Langdell: judge made "almost 100 errors"". Eurogamer. 
  35. ^ Dutton, Fred (2011-07-26). "Langdell faces contempt of court threat News • News •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  36. ^ "Trade mark decision". UK Intellectual Property Office. August 14, 2002. Retrieved June 1, 2009. 
  37. ^ "Cybernet Systems Corporation v. Edge Games Incorporated et al". Justia.com: Federal District Court Filings and Dockets. Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  38. ^ Carless, Simon (June 10, 2009). "A Brief Statement On The Mobigame/Edge Games Article". Gamasutra. Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  39. ^ "Edge News". Cybernet Systems Corporation. Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  40. ^ "Cybernet Copyright Notice". Cybernet.com. Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  41. ^ "United States Patent & Trademark Office". June 1, 2009. 
  42. ^ "Edge of Twilight" (in Multiple). Fuzzy Eyes. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  43. ^ "Edge of Twilight News". Gamespot. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  44. ^ "THE EDGE INTERACTIVE MEDIA, INC. v. NEW WORLD COMPUTING, INC. (number 92021684)". Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Inquiry System. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  45. ^ "THE EDGE INTERACTIVE MEDIA, INC. v. MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP INC. (number 91104138)". Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Inquiry System. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  46. ^ "THE EDGE INTERACTIVE MEDIA, INC. v. MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, INC. (number 91104135)". Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Inquiry System. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  47. ^ "Edge Games, Inc. v. Kabushiki Kaisha Sony Computer Entertainment (a/t/a Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.) (number 77126808)". Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Inquiry System. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  48. ^ "Edge Games, Inc. v. EDGE TECH CORPORATION (number 75321910)". Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Inquiry System. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  49. ^ "Edge Games, Inc. v. Coates, John (number 77352656)". Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Inquiry System. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  50. ^ EDGE Games from EDGEGAMES.COM
  51. ^ Surrender of registration for cancellation from USPTO
  52. ^ "It’s Fun to Stay at the IGDA". Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  53. ^ Good, Owen (July 17, 2009). "Effort Begun to Remove Trademark Troll from IGDA Board". Kotaku. Retrieved September 21, 2009. 
  54. ^ a b Good, Owen (August 31, 2009). "Tim Langdell Resigns from IGDA Board (Updated)". Kotaku. Retrieved August 31, 2009. 
  55. ^ "IGDA Announces Dr. Tim Langdell has stepped down from IGDA Board" (PDF). Mt. Royal, NJ: IGDA.org. August 31, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2009. [dead link]
  56. ^ "Tim Langdell removed from IGDA Membership " International Game Developers Association Board". Igdaboard.wordpress.com. October 13, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2010. 
  57. ^ Andy Chalk (October 14, 2010). "Tim Langdell Loses IGDA Membership". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 

External links[edit]