Langdell 'may face fraud charges'

Langdell 'may face fraud charges'

By Rob Crossley

October 5th 2010 at 11:50AM

Courts order EA to submit evidence of Langdell fraud; Marvel claims he lied

The devastating manner in which Tim Langdell lost a legal fight with EA could result in ‘potentially serious consequences’ for the Edge Games owner, a game industry lawyer has said.

Jas Purewal, lawyer and author of Gamer/Law, said Langdell’s failure to earn a preliminary injunction against Electronic Arts was so comprehensive that the courts may turn their attention onto him.

“The judge has made a pretty damning verdict on Tim Langdell’s argument,” Purewal told Develop.

“EA put in a lot of evidence attacking each one of Langdell’s arguments, and in pretty forthright language the judge agreed to virtually all of them.

“There’s language that EA uses – and the judge agrees with – that Langdell’s threats were ‘soaked in fraud’. It’s pretty hard-hitting stuff.”

Purewal pointed out that Langdell was said to be lying in submitting his own evidence to a California court.

The courts have now ordered EA to make available its evidence of fraud against Langdell.

“That has potential personal legal consequences for him,” Purewal said.

“It’s not clear why EA needs to make this evidence available, but it does suggest something is going to happen.

“Judges tend to speak in quite circumspect, neutral language, but here there doesn’t seem to be any doubt that Judge was completely on EA’s side.

“What has made things completely untenable for Edge Games is the evidence that he doctored images and packaging in order to protect those trademarks.

“For example, Langdell claimed he had licensed Marvel Comics to make an Edge-branded comic, to which EA gave evidence from Marvel’s lawyers who said they’ve never had anything to do with him.

“That raises potentially serious consequences for him, because it raises questions of whether he’s lied to the courts.”

Langdell this week was denied a bid to stop EA from using the ‘Edge’ trademark in the FPS franchise Mirror’s Edge. Langdell – given the pejorative nickname ‘trademark troll’ by his detractors – has in the past succeeded in muscling out other game companies who have used the ‘edge’ name.

Purewal says Langdell’s latest setback doesn’t stop him from further legal pursuits, though “he now has a very difficult decision on his hands, because the court has ruled against him so unambiguously.”

He said the new ruling in favour of EA “is going to be a very persuasive legal value in regards to litigation in the US over the ownership of the Edge trademark”.

He added that the ongoing legal scuffles will bear a significant financial strain on Langdell’s business.

“I think the whole issue shows that trademarks are a very important legal protection for your games, and it’s absolutely critical to take proper legal advice,” he added.

To date, Langdell has not faced the court under accusation for committing fraud.