Alleged Trademark Troll Resigns From IGDA Board

After months of controversy, Tim Langdell has resigned from the executive board of the International Game Developers Association, reports Develop.

Langdell, accused by some of being an abuser of the trademark process, explained his reasons for stepping down in a post on the IGDA’s forum:

My great fear, then, is that this vocal minority [of critics] — most of whom are not IGDA members — will continue their negative attacks on the IGDA… It seems nearly certain they will continue to generate even more negative press for the IGDA… causing substantial drain on IGDA board volunteer and staff resources and time, which is not in the interests of either the IGDA or its membership…

I make this decision not because I have done anything wrong… but because I must make this decision between concluding a process that will show I did no wrong, and having that process irreparably damage the IGDA, I cannot permit the latter to happen…

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  1. Defenestrator says:

    The "a game by Edge" has recently disappeared.  I’m guessing EA threatened to squash him like a bug.

    I never thought I’d find myself on EA’s side in any dispute.

  2. Wormdundee says:

    This guy is full of shit, but at least he resigned. He claimed ownership of the Edge trademark in completely disparate industries from his own. Not to mention the fact that nobody seems able to find any game made by his company for sale. His entire business is based around suing people for trademark infringement, and that is some pathetic crap.

    For me, the most blatant one is a little while after Mirror’s Edge was released suddenly there appeared on his website a little game called ‘MIRRORS agameby EDGE’. Seriously, the ‘a game by’ part is in miniscule font, and I have no doubt he probably intends to sue EA or something moronic like that.

    Maybe nothing he’s done is technically illegal, but it’s skirting the border, and it’s definitely ETHICALLY wrong, especially for a guy who is supposed to be helping out independant games. Good riddance I say. He is a despicable human being.

  3. jedidethfreak says:

    "He’s a mean, he’s a racist, and he’s very, very VERY, ….devilish." – Micheal Jackson, referring to the president of Sony Music, who wholly financed Jacko’s last album with a million dollars of his own money.

    He was dead when I got here.

  4. MechaTama31 says:

    At least he’s a bit more talented than Jacko in trying to spin up a moral victory from a crushing public defeat.

  5. Adrian Lopez says:

    Fame is important in trademark law with respect to whether your trademark is valid across different contexts. I couldn’t, for instance, start a car company called Nintendo Motors for the simple fact that Nintendo is a famous trademark. It doesn’t matter that Nintendo Motors is in a different industry because I’d be trading on the good will of the Nintendo brand. The same cannot be said of "Edge", and I see absolutely no justification for Langdell’s attutude toward Mobigame’s use of the word "Edge" in a game, nor Marvel’s use, nor Edge Magazine’s use, etc.


  6. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Which I don’t think you can find unless hes desperate and paid someone to use his trade mark to make it valid I think specifically its a cart before the horse issue, he dose not really have a product to trade mark and  is grasping at straws.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  7. Neeneko says:

    *nods* and that is the critial piece that is luckly starting to get more discussion as time goes on.

    If Edge has been producing products in it’s industry, then the trademark complain means one thing.  If they have not then it has lapsed.

    Though this gets more complex if the trademark has been lisenced to other companies that ARE producing products, in which case the Edge trademark is also valid as long as they are producing using it.

  8. Neeneko says:

    Fame is not the legal issue though.  Trademark does not go to ‘who is better known’ and you do not automaticly loose your trademark because someone more popular wants it.  It does not matter if they are the most obsecure company that only 10 people have heard of.  If they have the trademark, defend it, and continue to produce in the market they are registered in (one of the strikes against Edge), then they are entitled to exclusive use of that name.  And no one can just take it away from them no matter now well known they are.

    I would hope that this basic pattern is something the IGDA would defend.  That is why I eyeball this case in isolation.  It sets a bad precient if the IGDA speaks out against it because the person is a troll then has to address a similiar issue when the person is not.

  9. Adrian Lopez says:

    I’m not saying you can’t register a trademark on a common word, but that your rights over a common word are more limited than when your trademark is so well known that customers associate that word with your company just by virtue of the word being present. I’m saying Langdell’s rights over the trademark "Edge Games" most likely don’t confer upon him the rights he claims over the use of the word "edge".

  10. Unruly says:

    Believe it or not, under the actual trademark law, you could create a company named Apple and trademark the word Apple yourself so long as you were participating in a separate industry and there wasn’t the possibility of brand confusion. So if you wanted to say, make a shoe company named Apple and trademark Apple as it pertains to shoes, you could do it. I’m sure that Apple Inc. would make a fuss, but the reality is that they really couldn’t do much. Trademarks are filed under various sections, which define what they can be used to represent, which is why the Apple trademark, unless it’s been filed for whatever section that clothing/footwear is in as well as computers and other tech gizmos, couldn’t lay a finger on you.*

    And before bringing up the Wee-mote vs. Wiimote debacle that was around last year, that fell into an area where there really could have been brand confusion, had Nintendo actually labeled the Wii Remote the Wiimote. The two items fell into practically the same category in their use, that of a remote control, albeit for different items(TV and Wii console). But since Nintendo never labeled the Wii Remote as the Wiimote, the whole argument turned into the actual trademark trolling that it was.

    Part of a lot of people’s hatred for Langdell is that he somehow managed to get his Edge trademark filed in areas that are completely unrelated, and he has had absolutely no prior usage of, EVER. Areas like magazines, comics, and movies. He also filed suit against a computer hardware company and an online gaming group, but those could be seen as somewhat remotely related unlike the other areas that he’s filed suit against people for.

    *This is based on what Ray Beckerman(aka NewYorkCountryLawyer), an actual lawyer, said on Slashdot regarding people’s comments about the Langdell issue in the past. Or at least I believe it was him. There are a few actual lawyers who regularly post on Slashdot and I know one of them explained trademarks in a similar fashion.

  11. Adrian Lopez says:

    Apple is a famous mark. Edge Games is most decidedly not.

    I’m not a lawyer, but as far as I know a common word such as "edge" is just that — a common word — until it acquires secondary meaning by becoming associated with a particular source in the mind of consumers. I doubt the vast majority of people who see the word "Edge" in a game title (or, indeed, in any other title), would ever think of "Edge Games" as the source of the product unless it were explicitly named as such. The "common word" claim, therefore, is perfectly legitimate in this context.

  12. ZippyDSMlee says:

    True to a point however one tends to have made the brand(or have something to defend) before defending the trade mark to the death.


    Apple corps won most of their trade mark battles with Apple inc, Apple of coarse managed to win the vital issue over Itunes of which it hinged on Itunes not being a traditional form of music distribution, I think if they became a label/publisher they would have lost, at least this my speculation of drool.


    The problem over this is you have a hack of a developer trolling rather than a hack of developer who made a series of games that are common and up to date and then trade marked it. There is alot of vitriol going around because they don’t have the money to endlessly sue each other into the ground so blog whining is about as good as it gets.


    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  13. Unruly says:

    The problem with his trademark, though, is that it was entirely too broad, and not just because it was a common word. Somehow, he was able to trademark the word Edge for not just video games, but almost every medium including movies and comics. That should not have been allowed, because for a trademark to be valid you have to actively use it in the area that you have it registered. Despite the fact that he didn’t use "Edge" in any area other than games, he was still able to register it otherwise and bring threats of litigation against Marvel over comics in their Marvel Edge imprint, a hardware company named Edge Tech, and a group of gamers that called themselves EdgeGamers. He also claims on his website that the movie "The Edge" from 20th Century Fox had its name licensed from him.

    When Mobigames was talking with Langdell about the trademark, they mentioned the possibility of renaming the game to Edgy instead of Edge, to which Langdell told them that they would also have to license that from him since it was close to the word edge then abruptly turned around and trademarked that word as well, ensuring that if they wanted to change the name to that they would fall into the same boat. Also, he filed for trademark on the phrase "Edge of Twilight" which is the name of a game that has been in developement for two years already.


    EDIT: Corrected my reply as the wikipedia article for Edge Games has direct links to the US Patent and Trademark Office’s official website and their record of his trademark disputes with Marvel, Edge Tech(a computer HARDWARE company), and EdgeGamers(an online gaming community).

  14. GoodRobotUs says:

    Whilst I agree that the blogs isn’t, and shouldn’t have been, the place for the discussions to take place, I think the how recognisable the TM is actually plays a role to a degree.

    The way I understand it, a company called Edge would be encroaching on the TM, but a game with the word ‘Edge’ in it isn’t doing that, it’s not trying to muscle in on the Mark of Trade, it’s just using the word in its title. So whilst I agree with you on some factors, I do think this is a case of Langdell being anal more than the situation between Apple and Apple.

    I always find it particularly interesting with Langdell anyway, because I’d love to see Atari take a look at Bobby Bearing and talk to their Copyright lawyers 😉

  15. Neeneko says:

    Trademarks cover ‘common’ words all the time though.

    For instance, Apple is trademarked when it involves technology.  Apple is also trademarked by a differnt company in regards to music.  Both companies defends their trademarks, even against eachother when Apple the computer company does anything music related.  These cases happen all the explitve time and most of the time they get resolved quietly.

    Apple vs Apple is actually a classic back and forth that has come up multiple times over the years.  But unlike Mobi vs Edge, they handle it like adults and work something out instead of runing and crying to the blogs.

    So part of the problem as I see it is not that Edge trademarked a common word, but that most people do not know how trademarks work or what they cover, thus you get a lots of ‘but it is a common word!’ outrage, followed by poster after poster thinking they are original for threatening to trademark the word ‘the’ and start suing people.

  16. Defenestrator says:

    One of the many websites that have picked up on this story, received phone logs from Mobigames as well as logs from Mobigames’ internet provider.  Mobi may not be completely clean in this, but Langdell has tried to spin everything with outright lies and complete obfuscation.  He’s making Jack Thompson look like a choir boy.

    Check out this link:


    Then there’s this:

    Mobigame provided us a copy of an email, dated May 1, 2009, from Edge Games to David Papazian, in which Edge Games indicates that removing the UK and US application and changing the name of the game wouldn’t stop Mobigame from being sued unless Mobigames also agreed to a monetary settlement. This aggressively-worded email is not reflected in the Edge Games Public Statement, nor was it mentioned in our extensive email conversations with Dr. Langdell. Instead, Edge Games ends Section 2 of its Public Statement with the April 28th removal of the game from the US and UK iTunes stores, and then resumes the chronology in Section 3 with a discussion of the name Edgy dating to May 14th, giving the impression that US/UK iTunes removal and a name change is all Edge Games asked for. Edge has refused to comment on the record regarding this email.

    Source (it’s also the article I reference above):

  17. NovaBlack says:

    Whats more, the screenshots of the wipe-out esque game he has on his site now can actually be found on IGN under details of a game under a completely different name, by a completely different company that was canned a year or so back when the company went bust.

    And the screenshots arent similar. They LITERALLY ARE the same screenshots.

  18. Neeneko says:

    Yeah, one thing I have had trouble with in this debate was trying to ignore his past behavior.  Through this I have been trying to look at the history and merits of the case specificly with Mobi.

    One the pattern is looked at the guy looks worse and worse.  Though I still feel that Mobi used his past to colour thier specific case when it looks like they did have a hand in making things worse.  To me it sounds like they were being dishonest too and have used a ‘greater evil vs popular’ defense to completely absolve themselves.

    Heh.  I had not heard that about Mythora thought.  That would explain why there were screenshots but no actual game.

  19. Defenestrator says:

    For me, issue wasn’t that Langdell is trying to defend his trademark.  It isn’t.  He has not only the right to do so, but the legal necessity to do so.

    It is HOW he defends that TM, through legal threats and attempts at extorting royalties from small indie developers, the types of developers the IGDA is supposed to support and protect.  When you have a board member trying to browbeat your members down with the authority of being a board member, that’s really not cool.

    The other real issue is that you need to actually USE your trademark.  It does not appear that Edge Games has actually PRODUCED one single item of purchasable good in the past 15 years.  The Bobby Bearing release for the cell phones (which were out of date 5 years ago) is in some debate as to whether or not Edge was actually involved in the production of said games or they were ported by another developer.  There’s supposedly even some doubt as to whether Edge still owns the rights to Bobby Bearing.  If a company was gung ho to spend the money and time fighting Langdell, they might be able to prove that Langdell no longer has the rights to the Edge trademark.  It would be an uphill battle and a huge gamble, which is why so many people knuckle under to his demands.

    On top of that, Mythora WAS released.  In Europe.  Under another name.  By another company.  They claim they have no agreement in place with Langdell or Edge and Langdell/Edge do not have the rights to put their game on his website.

    The IP owner of "Teenage Wasteland" has made similar claims, that Langdell and Edge have been asked to remove that information from the website and have been ignored.

    When you see enough of these little blurbs start to pop up, they start to comlete a bigger picture and a familiar pattern of behavior from Langdell.  And, boy, does this shit start to stink after awhile.




  20. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I think the real problem comes down to he tried to trade mark a common word linked to gaming. It was a bad idea and like "popular" ones it brings the nuts out of the wood work.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  21. Neeneko says:


    While Langdell is a scum ball, I lost a lot of respect for the indy game scene during this debate.  Very little discussion about the actual issues.. but lots of ‘trademarks are stupid’, ‘mobi games is so cool, but I have never heard of this old fart’, etc.  I hope none of those ranters ever find themselves having to defend a trademark…. .and I wonder how mobi will do when down the road it has enough IP to need to defend it.  Granted like most IP cases it would probably be handled quietly… but it would serve them right if whoever they were serving notice too decided to fight with the weapon of public opinion and community outrage over loaded topics.

  22. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Excelent point.

    I don’t think this guy has ever had a stellar reputation in the games industry. SO it boggled my mind that he got elected.

    While I myself am not a paying member of the IGDA, I do like to be involved. My membership status will be changing to paid status over the course of the next year though, so maybe when the next IGDA elections roll around  Iwill be able to vote.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  23. GoodRobotUs says:

    I would say the reasons he got the post in the first place was more damaging to the IGDA than the resulting furor it caused. At least this implies that people actually cared about the issues at hand, whereas his election was based on the fact that no-one could be bothered to vote from what I understand.

    So, if he’s achieved one thing in his stint at the IGDA, it’s actually to make people aware that when these board elections come round, it’s important to get involved, because, if you don’t, you end up with people like Langdell on it.

  24. Austin_Lewis says:

    Yeah, after the last article on him, I did a bit of searching, and I couldn’t find any of his games for sale.  I couldn’t even find a site with reasonable details of the game, and his site was barely functioning.  I don’t believe he ever produced a game in his life.

  25. Defenestrator says:

    If you go over into the forums (under the "Feedback" section) you would not believe the amount of dirt a little bit of research dug up on this scumball.  The "Call to Remove Tim Langdell from the Board" thread is about 90 pages long and full of Langdell talking in circles.

    He still has not provided a single place to buy any of the games his company has purported to have made over that past few years.

    My challenge is still out there:

    A big package of cookies to anyone who can find a retailer or website that sells:  Mythora, Pengu or Battlepods.

  26. ZippyDSMlee says:

    MMmmmmmmmm you do something questionable rasie a stink over it and don’t really have anything other than an odd patent/trade mark to back you up.

    So……. the onus is on you to make it right.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

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