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EA Fires Back at Edge Games, Says It's Deceiving USPTO

Posted August 30, 2010 by James Brightman

Tim Langdell has been a thorn in the side of just about anyone attempting to use the word "Edge" in video games, comics, media, or otherwise. He's been sitting on a "family" of trademarks related to Edge (Gamer's Edge, Cutting Edge, etc.) and making life miserable for people actually attempting to make products by suing them. He hasn't made a game in many, many years, and his "company" is essentially just a post office box. 

Publisher EA started a petition last September on behalf of developers and itself. Fast forward to June of this year, and Tim Langdell decided to take EA head-on. He filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that the DICE developed Mirror's Edge was infringing on his Edge trademark.

Today, we've learned that EA has filed a counterclaim against Langdell and Edge Games. The publisher's suit summarizes the situation as follows:

"EA is the latest target of Tim Langdell’s decades-long campaign to block anyone from using the word 'edge,' or any variation thereof, in connection with the marketing and sales of video games and related products or services. Through a series of fraudulent misrepresentations to the United States Patent and Trademark Office ('USPTO'), Langdell—a one-time designer of video games for such long-since obsolete video game systems as the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Oric, and Sinclair ZX Spectrum—has obtained federal registrations for a purported 'family' of EDGE marks. Neither Langdell nor his alter ego companies have made any legitimate and good faith use of those marks in commerce, but they have instead used the marks to assert baseless claims against third parties and to extract undeserved settlements, consisting of invalid naked licenses and assignments in gross which Langdell has used to maintain his fraudulently obtained registrations. Through this counterclaim, Counterclaimants seek cancellation of the invalid registrations maintained by Langdell’s alter egos and a declaration that his companies have no common law rights in the purported marks that are the subject of those registrations."

Ultimately, EA alleges that Langdell and his alter-egos "intended to deceive the USPTO and to induce reliance on the representations in order to maintain and make incontestable the registration." Furthermore, there's been "no bona fide use of the mark in commerce... and the application is therefore void ab initio."  

The counterclaim adds, "To the extent Counterdefendants ever held a valid registration, they abandoned the mark... due to non-use of the mark with the intent not to resume use, through an assignment in gross of the application and underlying trademark, and otherwise through a course of conduct that has caused the mark to lose all significance as a mark and/or as an indicator of source."

EA says it and other defendants continue to be damaged by Langdell's trademark abuse and EA's looking for the court to declare that Langdell and Edge Games have no common law rights to any of the "family" of trademarks. EA and counterdefendants are also looking for legal fees to be compensated and further relief as the courts "deems just and proper."

James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer ever since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously the EIC of GameDaily Biz.

3 Comments

Mitch Triantafilles
12 months ago

Never thought I'd say this, but I really hope EA wins in court. This Langdell guy sounds like a douche.

swebal
11 months ago

Seconded.

Steve Peterson
11 months ago

There seems to be no intent to use the mark on Langdell's part for many years, which should be decisive for the USPTO. I won a trademark dispute for that very reason... the previous holder had made no effort to use the mark in interstate commerce for years, so it was deemed abandoned. Of course, it cost a lot of time and money to get to that point... kudos to EA for making the effort.




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