Langdell: â??Edge by Mobigameâ?? isnâ??t fair

Langdell: â??Edge by Mobigameâ?? isnâ??t fair

By Rob Crossley

November 27th 2009 at 1:40PM

Trademark disputes rumble on, as Edge Games sees re-named iPhone title removed from App Store

Tim Langdell’s Edge Games told Apple to remove the iPhone title ‘Edge by Mobigame’ from the App Store, the company has confirmed.

The move marks the second time Langdell has controversially succeeded in removing Mobigame’s award-winning puzzle game from Apple’s store, a plan accomplished with the pugnacious use of trademark protection on the word ‘Edge’.

A statement issued to Develop by Edge Games – thought to be written by Langdell himself, despite claims to the contrary – confirmed that the company took issue with the new name for Mobigame’s  iPhone title, which was once called ‘Edge’ but then sold as ‘Edge by Mobigame’.

“Adding ‘by Mobigame’ was determined not to get around infringement,” said Langdell’s ‘rep’.

“Clearly, if Sony tried to use the mark ‘iPod by Sony’ they would hardly expect Apple not to take action to protect their mark ‘iPod’. In trademark law adding ‘by (name)’ to another company's registered trademark does not mean a company can use that trademark without being guilty of willful infringement.”

Mobigame, a Paris-based two-man indie outfit, now has its iPhone plans thrown into disarray, with an ever-decreasing chance that its debut game can be sold under the ‘Edge’ name.

Whether the developer will be asked to pay Edge Games for using the name Edge is unknown; Langdell’s rep alleged that Mobigame lied that money was demanded for using it.

“The fact is that [Mobigame co-founder] Papazian has had an offer on the table since May to settle this dispute by his changing the name of his game and paying Edge Games no money at all. He has repeatedly refused that very reasonable offer,” the statement alleged.

EA ‘guaranteed to fail’
Edge Games’ hostility to games marked with ‘that’ crucial word shows no sign of stopping, with the firm promising that further action is being taken against both Mobigame and EA.

“Last week the window opened for the first time for us to file a formal opposition to [Mobigame’s] attempt to register the mark Edge as a Community Trade Mark (CTM),” continued the statement. “The moment that window to oppose opened we filed our opposition to his attempt to register Edge as a CTM.

“We will win that opposition because in order to win it we only need to show a prior registration in a member CTM country.”

Edge Games once again claimed that Langdell’s firm still owns the rights to the word ‘Edge’.

Electronic Arts - which crossed paths with Edge Games following the release of DICE’s first-person adventure game Mirror’s Edge – is currently seeking to dismantle Langdell’s trademark protection, claiming that the that the trademark is dormant.

The legitimacy of Langdell’s operation is a matter of dispute. The company has vehemently argued that Edge Games has – contrary to popular belief – released new games since 1994.

His opponents differ on the issue. Anti-Langdell blog ChaosEdge argues that the firm “has never published or developed a game on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation, PSP, Xbox 360, Xbox, Wii, Gamecube, N64, Super Nintendo, DS, Gameboy Advance, Gameboy Color, Gameboy, Megadrive (Genesis) or iPhone.”

However Langdell is selling new material through his own website, where users can purchase one of two PC games burnt onto blank DVDs and sent out through a mail box in California. Under these conditions, neither Nintendo or Sony accept Edge Games as a developer or publisher with a registered office.

Edge Games, however, is self-assured that EA’s masterplan is “guaranteed to fail since EA has failed to meet the basic requirements to get a mark canceled in either territory.”

Langdell’s rep claimed that Edge Games has filed a motion to dismiss EA’s action, going on to make the haughty claim that the motion is “expected to succeed.”

“Despite rumors to the contrary, Edge Games has either won every dispute in the past 20 years over the mark Edge or has settled amicably with the other party ending the dispute with an agreement in Edge Games' favor,” read the statement.

“That acknowledges and reaffirms Edge's ownership of the mark Edge.”

Langdell ‘not involved’
Edge Games goes on to make bizarre suggestions that Tim Langdell himself is barely accountable for the firm’s numerous trademark disputes.

Langdell – the man whose enemies have given him the pejorative title of ‘trademark troll’ – recently quit the IGDA following rumors he would be removed. He has faced widespread allegations of immorally holding onto a dormant trademark but according to the statement has “at no time ever taken action as an individual in this matter”.

The statement claims that the man who effectively founded Edge Games back in 1980 – and has for three decades served as chief executive – has little executive sway in the matter.

He “serves as CEO of this corporation at the pleasure of the Edge Board”, read the statement. “His actions are merely those the Board directs him to take.”

Langdell, however, has never indicated that he disapproves of the anonymous board’s decisions.

[Langdell was not confirmed as the author of the statement, with the anonymous sender requesting to be cited as a representative for the company. The cited legal matters continue.]

[TIMELINE - LANGDELL VERSUS MOBIGAME]