Fourteen years ago, Tim Langdell and his Edge Games became a pariah of the game industry. His firm was branded a “trademark troll” in a naming dispute with Mobigame and its president David Papazian over the names Edge and Edge Games in the game business.
Langdell’s Edge Games started making games in the 1980s, but Mobigame created a hit mobile game in 2009 with the name Edge. The two companies have disputed the naming ever since.
Yet Langdell said in an interview with GamesBeat that his company has now emerged largely victorious. As far as we can see, this case isn’t what it seemed, and it’s worth a second look. Revera, an international law firm that doesn’t do work for any of the parties in the dispute, studied the ruling in the United Kingdom and found that Edge Games prevailed over Mobigames earlier this year. Based on the latest ruling, Apple has informed Mobigame that its Edge game will be removed from the Apple App Store. Langdell said he has won favorable legal terms in 36 trademark cases involving Edge in games.
Asked if the company had lost its cases in the U.K. and France, and if Apple had sent a letter saying it could remove Mobigame’s Edge from the App Store, Papazian directed us to comment to his lawyers regarding the U.K. Regarding France, he said, “In France, Mobigame decided not to renew its [trademarks] because it was under the mistaken belief that Langdell had accepted the position and had stopped his activities. As for the UK, I would direct you to [law firm] Sheridans for a comment on the matter.”
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Papazian disputed that Apple had threatened to pull Mobigame’s Edge from the app store pending a legal explanation. He noted Langdell made the original request to remove the game. He said Mobigame has “responded to those requests from Langdell explaining why there is no lawful basis on which to take the game down and it therefore remains on the App Store.” He described Langdell’s defeats as “comedic gold” and said Langdell hasn’t produced anything “genuine” since the 1980s.
For his part, Langdell refutes everything that Papazian said, including showing a copy of the Apple notification. In 2009, Mobigame won over the press in its cause and cast Langdell as a greedy troll who was using the flaws in trademark law to extract a toll from an entrepreneurial startup.
The term “trademark troll” refers to someone who owns a trademark registration for a mark that the person never used at all. That troll uses the registration to threaten people to give the troll money. But a “trademark troll” is not the appropriate term to use for someone who is lawfully trying to police and protect their trademark rights, and it does not fit even if people think the person is perceived as aggressive about enforcing their rights. Langdell’s company put its name on numerous games that came out since the 1980s and it still puts its name on games it is launching today.
During this dispute, the press was never on the side of Edge Games. It may have seemed reasonable for a company to defend the name “Edge Games,” but it was an overreach to claim ownership of the common word “Edge” in all of gaming.
“I think what I have discovered to my horror these past 14 years is that if people repeat a false statement over and again on the internet often enough it becomes accepted truth without people checking to see if it is true,” Langdell said. “We’ve seen a lot of this with politics in the last few years. How when a group of people grab onto a whole statement, they stick with it, (even when) people have presented evidence to the contrary.”
A response from Papazian
Papazian initially declined to make a comment about the latest developments in the case, saying, “While I am not providing specific comments at this juncture, I am more than willing to guide you to the latest legal documents pertinent to this trademark dispute. These documents offer a comprehensive perspective on the ongoing matter.”
Yet Papazian then sent a letter to GamesBeat also pointed to U.S. case documents here, here, here and here. In response to Papazian’s letter, Langdell noted his team is preparing to file a trove of documents in response in preparation for a proceeding in January in the U.S. case, and it has not lost any cases.
In an email to GamesBeat, Papazian said his firm is “actively working in various countries to prevent Langdell from continuing his pattern of harassment and extortion.”
In reply, Langdell said, “He seems to be in deep denial that he irreversibly lost those cases even in his homeland of France where we were proven to have not harassed anyone, not extorted anyone, and that we are the rightful owners of the Edge and Edge Games [trademarks], not Mobigame. He stubbornly refuses to accept the simple reality that he is the one who is deluded when he claims Edge Games or I personally have ever been in the wrong.”
Showing an email, Langdell alleged that Papazian once threatened his lawyers in France if they continued to represent Edge Games.
Regarding the document links, Langdell said, “He then links to two pages of actions before the U.S. trademark office that show we have won case after case after case since 1993 with no recent losses whatsoever. This is what I mean by his showing a blank piece of paper and declaring it proves I am a bad guy.”
Langdell added, “In fact, the most recent USPTO decisions in the list he send you are On The Edge Productions (92081057), Hibernum Creations (92080972) Accel Entertainment (92080943), Mobigame (91212834) and Razer Pacific (92075393) — all of which actions we won. The other recent cases are still pending outcomes but in all cases we are on course to either win or settle amicably in our favor, mostly the latter.”
In another email to GamesBeat, Papazian said:
I truly appreciate the effort you are investing in investigating and providing an accurate portrayal of the ongoing situation involving Mr. Langdell. Your journalistic integrity is evident and commendable.
I must, however, offer a word of caution, drawn from past experiences. The possibility of encountering manipulations and fabrications in the information provided by Mr. Langdell is significant. We’ve observed his tendency to distort reality in previous media interactions, a pattern that can potentially mislead even the most meticulous journalists. Alarmingly, even trademark registration offices have been ensnared multiple times by his machinations, underscoring the depth of his deception. I wonder if this is what prompted your inquiry, indicating a level of awareness of the intricacies and sensitivities surrounding Mr. Langdell’s claims.
In 2011, a similar scenario unfolded when [redacted] published an article post-interview with Langdell. Unfortunately, the piece was tainted with misinformation and misrepresented facts, a consequence of unverified claims. I reached out to [redacted], with comprehensive evidence – much of which was publicly accessible online – to rectify these misrepresentations. The subsequent official apology from [redacted] underscored the necessity of thorough scrutiny.
Your inquiry signals a well-intentioned effort to present an unbiased account of the ongoing conflict, a pursuit I hold in high regard. The imperative to rigorously examine each piece of information and assertion, especially those emanating from Mr. Langdell, cannot be overstated. His history of deception necessitates extreme caution to prevent the inadvertent propagation of falsehoods and safeguard your esteemed publication’s integrity.
For example, you may have seen on Langdell’s website that he claims to give 10% of his profit to charities and institutions for the benefit of children in need, at-risk children and sick children. Did he provide any proof of that? Such assertions, while noble if true, require validation to ensure authenticity and credibility.
While I am not providing specific comments at this juncture, I am more than willing to guide you to the latest legal documents pertinent to this trademark dispute. These documents offer a comprehensive perspective on the ongoing matter.
Back to 2009
It all started in early 2009. Edge Games owned the registered trademark Edge (along with The Edge, Gamer’s Edge and some others) and Mobigame had “unlawfully used our Edge mark for an iPhone game,” Langdell said. As noted above, based on the latest ruling, Apple has informed Mobigame that its Edge game will be removed from the Apple App Store.
“If the matter is not resolved shortly, Apple may be forced to pull your application(s) from the following App Store territories: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States,” Apple said in a letter to Mobigame.
The case could have ended long ago. Langdell said that Mobigame’s Papazian admitted he was in the wrong, asked for permission to use Edge, and when Edge Games refused, he agreed to change the game’s name to Edgy. Yet Papazian didn’t give up his efforts to overturn the trademark. Langdell maintains his efforts in the case of Mobigames were always “amicable.”
The EA lawsuit over Mirror’s Edge
Langdell was labeled a “trademark troll” in another high-profile case, but Langdell argued that pursuing enforcement of trademark rights is not being a “trademark troll.”
That other time, Langdell was accused of overreaching by claiming the Electronic Arts game Mirror’s Edge infringed on the name, or mark, of Edge Games’ trademarked word “Edge.”
Electronic Arts sued over the enforcement attempt. Langdell believed that Mirror’s Edge and Edge were “sufficiently confusable.” The judge in the case was critical of Edge Games in an initial hearing, granting an injunction that favored EA. At first, EA hailed the case as a victory over nuisance complaints.
But Langdell said that the judge’s view was based on representations that EA provided to the judge that were based on falsehoods that Papazian allegedly had made on the internet. Once he pointed that out, EA’s stance changed. Langdell said Edge Games allowed some “registrations” of trademarks to be canceled, but not the trademarks (established by use) themselves.
Upon pointing the alleged falsehoods to EA, Edge Games agreed to a “compromise” settlement with EA and Langdell said the order — written by himself and EA — meant that Edge Games did not abandon its rights or admit to any fraud in obtaining them. This subtlety was glossed over by the media, which reported that EA had had the judge cancel Edge trademarks.
That is, in the agreement, Edge Games had won what it wanted to win — the fact that it owned the marks, Langdell said. Edge Games also renewed its trademarks in the U.S. as older ones expired. In this respect, Langdell believes he won the important legal points in the litigation with EA. We asked EA for its interpretation of the ruling and will update this story if EA has a comment.
Papazian said, “Our efforts to counter Langdell are aligned with EA’s past successes. EA not only managed to cancel some of his trademarks but also ensured a judge prohibited Langdell from re-registering those trademarks. This brings up a significant question that might be worth exploring with the USPTO directly – why haven’t more preventative measures been taken against Langdell considering his history?”
Langdell replied, “EA did not ensure a judge prohibited Langdell from re-registering those trademarks. There is nothing in the EA judgment that says anything about our not being able to re-register our marks. The record speaks for itself: in the rest of the world outside of the U.S., Edge Games Inc. owns trademark registrations for Edge and Edge Games (and The Edge) for games in all relevant game playing consumer territories, or has relevant common law rights, and in all those non-U.S. territories to-date Mobgiame has lost every attempt to claim they own the [trademark] Edge rather than us.”
Langdell added, “[In most cases], Mobigame hasn’t even bothered challenging our rights to the [trademark] Edge and has never applied to register the [trademark] Edge in their own name. This bears repeating. I know for a certainty that Mobigame has never applied to register the [trademark] Edge in the U.K. for instance. But I don’t think he has attempted to register Edge anywhere else other than the U.S. (which he lost to us) — other than the French/EU trademark he lost to us when he abandoned it.”
To summarize the litigation with Electronic Arts, there were several points where it seemed Edge Games lost or gave up legal ground. Edge Games gave up a handful of [trademarks] but kept its important ones, Langdell said, and it registered Edge Games before other [trademarks] were canceled so the company would have continuity of filings back to 1994 and so it did not abandon its rights as alleged. In short, there was a strategy behind which trademarks Edge Games could lose and which ones it needed, Langdell said.
Meanwhile, things stayed nasty in the Mobigames dispute. In an email in 2011, Papazian wrote to Langdell, threatening to sue.
“You are a criminal, and you must be stopped for the sake of the society. It is my business since the day you tried to extort us, until the day when you are in jail,” Papazian wrote. He added, “That’s pathetic, is your wife aware that you are destroying your life, seriously? What do you say to your daughter? Forget ‘edge’ and get a life.” Papazian also wrote, “You are not, and you never will be an indie. As said by the Californian judge, ‘your place is in jail,’ and it’s where we are going to send you.”
Langdell noted that the judge said no such thing.
The law firm Revera noted there are points to debate on both sides about whether Langdell is a trademark troll, including whether Langdell is a ‘trademark bully,’ and it noted multiple facts that suggested that he is not one. In conclusion, Revera said it could not conclude the term of trademark troll fits Edge Games. Langdell noted he has only ever sued two companies: Future Publishing and EA.
“I do push back against anyone saying the term ‘trademark troll’ should be equivalent to ‘trademark bully’ such that if someone bullies someone about a mark then they are a ‘troll.’ That is not a fair use,” Langdell said. “The reason is that so many people have no idea about trademark law and so when they receive a completely legitimate notice to stop using a registered trademark, they ‘feel’ bullied. But that doesn’t mean they are being bullied. If you see my point. I am sure some people mistakenly see us as bullying when all we are doing is precisely what trademark law requires us to do (send ‘cease and desist’ notices to stop use).”
Common law for trademarks
Langdell said he always believed his firm acted within its legal rights. He also noted the firm has invested in the Edge trademark for 40-plus years, and perhaps $75 million in investment. He said that millions of people have played Edge games over that time. There are many games in the Edge Games catalog across the decades.
“Having a common name as a trademark is quite common,” Langdell said.
In trademark law, you either defend your legal rights to a trademark against all potential infringers or you surrender those rights. You can also trademark a common name in a category such as games so long as you maintain use of that name, as Apple has done so in trademarking the name “Apple.” Microsoft has successfully defended “Windows,” and Blackberry did so with that word for its smartphones.
In contrast to patents, where you can be a troll, trademarks are based on whether you use it in a well-known product or service. Was Edge well known? Edge Games had sold tens of millions of dollars’ worth of the game Fairlight in the 1980s. Over time, the company has generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue.
Its biggest hits came early, with titles such as Fairlight, Brian Bloodaxe, Bobby Bearing, the Garfield license games, the Snoopy license games and various arcade game conversions by Taito and Konami. Mobigames has also been successful, as Papazian said its Zombie Tsunami title has had more than 600 million downloads.
“A mark becomes weaker, rather than stronger, if you allow other people to do what is called ‘dilute’ the name, and so you have to stop other people from using it,” Langdell said. “You have to be the only ones associated with the market. And that’s why we have to keep using Edge to minimize dilution.”
Those who file first usually get protection. If you don’t use a brand for three or five years (depending on the country), you will have been considered having “abandoned” the trademark. Edge Games never abandoned its trademark, Langdell said, and its oldest trademark is dated 2008 in the U.K. But he said the company has records showing that it was using the name as early as 1984. There was controversy about his during the EA trial, when Edge Games was accused of faking evidence, but Langdell said proper evidence surfaced of the use of Edge in the 1980s.
If Langdell could turn the clock back, would he use another name? He probably would do so. But he noted that no one has said it’s an overreach for Microsoft to use the name Edge in internet browsers.
“After 40 years, we’ve got a lot invested in that brand and it is actually quite valuable,” Langdell said.
In the 1990s, Marvel agreed to stop using the name Marvel Edge. And in an agreement with Future Publishing, Edge Games granted a license in the United Kingdom for the use of the word Edge in a gaming magazine, in exchange for a payment in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“That’s how sensible, level-headed companies talk to each other about trademark rights,” Langdell said. “What we never ever did was go to anyone and bully them for money or anything like that. That was complete fabrication. If anyone thinks we went up against so the Marvel, a huge company, and that they got bullied by us, that’s just preposterous.”
And Bandai Namco, after being asked for a payment to license the name from Edge Games, changed the name of its “Soul Edge” game to “Soul Blade” to avoid litigation. Langdell said this was the “minimum action required by trademark law in each country to protect and retain our Edge [trademarks].”
In the U.S. and the U.K., trademark law is similar when it comes to “common law” usage. If you establish “goodwill” using the game and selling goods with that name, then you have the right to protect that [trademark] in the marketplace.
King, now a division of Activision Blizzard, ran into a similar controversy in 2014 as it trademarked the use of the words “candy” and “saga” in games thanks to Candy Crush Saga. Its defense was that it had to trademark the word or risk losing it to others based on its obligations under trademark law. Like Edge Gaming, King ran into a lot of criticism for “monopolizing” the words in gaming.
King’s legal burden was to prove that “candy” was inevitably associated with the game Candy Crush Saga in games, and that it was not already rock solid in the public domain as a word unto itself. Companies such as Elevator and Thermos lost their trademarks over time as they became public domain words. King eventually settled many of the disputes without litigation, Revera said.
The litigation and the press
In this defense of legal rights, the press was on Langdell’s side only in the very beginning. Gamasutra (now Game Developer) published a scathing article by Simon Carless that cast Langdell as a trademark troll. Langdell called the piece “defamatory” with “complete falsehoods” and then Gamasutra removed the story. Before it was removed, others joined in similar coverage. (In an email to GamesBeat, Papazian brought up the Carless article as an example of good coverage on Langdell).
“Overnight I went from being one of the more highly regarded members of the international game community to being the black sheep who everyone was being told to hate,” Langdell said.
Later headlines on the stories included “Game industry bully Timothy Langdell loses asinine ‘Edge’ lawsuit against EA” (Games Radar 2010), “Tim Langdell will be ‘put in jail’ claims Mobigame CEO Papazian as Edge Games man shirks trademark troll label” (Pocket Gamer 2011), “Trademark troll Tim Langdell actually puts out a game” (Destructoid 2011), “After four years, an industry scourge loses his Edge” (Kotaku 2013)”Tim Langell’s ‘Edge’ trademarks are finally cancelled” (Game Developer 2013), and “The thing about trolls is they regenerate | 10 years ago” (GamesIndustry.biz 2020).
Yet Langdell stubbornly hung on to his legal rights and sought to correct the record and his name. And in the last year few years, Edge Games has emerged victorious in the courts and tribunals across the globe over who has the right to use the mark “Edge” for games. Recently, Apple (which has successfully defended its common law name as a trademark over the years) told Mobigame that its game Edge would be removed from the App Store in the wake of the rulings.
Mobigame repeatedly lost trademark cases to Edge Games (which Langdell calls EDGE Games, or EGI). In 2020, Edge Games won in the U.S. in a ruling that declared Mobigame was denied the right to register the mark Edge in its name for games. Mobigame lost again in August 2022 when the United Kingdom trademark office, after reviewing Edge Games’ filings since 1984, ruled that Edge Games had maintained its mark and used it in games continuously in real games.
The latter ruling countered what Langdell said was Papazian’s “bizarre” claim that he was the first ever user of the mark Edge. The U.K. trademark office also said that Mobigame had not acquired any goodwill arising from its use of the mark Edge for its iPhone game.
Over the years, Langdell tried to get Papazian to stop calling him “libelous” names.
“I must warn you again against making such libelous (and, if spoken, slanderous) statements since
you know you are copying what you write to a third party. You are well aware that at no time did we ever try to ‘extort’ you, that is a pure fiction you invented in 2009 that I am appalled you are still repeating,” Langdell wrote during the litigation in 2011. “You know that the earliest communications with you onwards we made clear that we are not and never have been seeking any payment from you, only an amicable resolution to the trademark dispute between us. You repeated remarks to third parties that we ever tried to extort you or that I am a ‘criminal’ are outright falsehoods and defamation since you know that none of this is true, despite your having had a shocking success in convincing some people to the contrary by your outrageous statements. I respectfully request yet again that you cease from such false and defamatory statements to third parties.”
Papazian replied, “You don’t seem to understand. We are going to sue you and all these materials will be used against you. This is very serious, a judge forbade you to do this kind of things, and you keep doing them. You are a criminal, and you must be stopped for the sake of the society. It is my business since the day when you tried to extort us, until the day when you will be in jail.”
Mobigame appealed the 2022 U.K. trademark office decision to the highest appeal judge for trademarks, and, on March 30, 2023, Mobigame lost the appeal. The appeal judge affirmed the decision of the trademark office expert and denied Mobigame’s attempt to cancel Edge Games’ marks Edge and Edge Games.
Three attorneys at Revera – Ekaterina Erohovec, head of IP and brand protection; Pavel Manoilau, associate; and Marharyta Firsiankova, junior associate – reviewed the litigation in the U.K. and offered feedback on trademark law. They concluded that, based on the UK Trade Mark Decision No. O/743/22 dated August 31, 2022 – and supported by the UK Trade Mark Decision No. O/0317/23 dated 30 March 2023 – the Mobigames’ application for declaring the Edge Games Inc’s Edge Games and Edge trademarks invalid failed and was rejected.
“From our opinion, this means that Edge Games has won the case against Mobigames at least in the U.K.,” said Revera’s team.
Two other law firms that also did work in the past for Edge Games — but do not currently work for Edge Games — also concluded that Edge Games won in the U.K. and France.
Mobigame also lost to EGI in its home territory of France. That country’s trademark office also ruled in favor of Edge Games, allowing it to retain its Edge registrations in France and denying Mobigame the right to any claim to the right to use the trademark Edge in France. At that time, Papazian allegedly threatened Edge Games’ French lawyers, saying he would use his social media presence to destroy them. In both the U.K. and France, trademark attorneys confirmed that the rulings against Mobigame are final.
The French authorities ruled that while Mobigame had sold some copies of its iPhone game that it titled “Edge” in the 2009 to 2012 period, those sales were insufficient to make Mobigame “famous” for the trademark Edge. The French judge also noted that in any event, Mobigame had not published a new game in over a decade and had sold very few of its existing games in the past eleven years.
In a filing in 2015, Papazian said that Langdell is commonly known as a “trademark troll” and cited the Wikipedia entry which was edited from Mobigames’ point of view. He later said, “Tim Langdell IS a trademark troll, it’s not an insult, it’s his job.”
Langdell said he is unsure how Papazian has been funding legal actions over the past 14 years, as he alleges Papazian, as an indie game developer, has been outspending him many times over.
Langdell believes this exonerates him against the allegations of being a “troll” or that he had acted badly, as Papazian had alleged. Langdell said he was shocked that the press took Papazian’s side over the years in a legal dispute, during which Papazian alleged that Edge Games had never published games since the 1980s. In fact, Langdell said the company continuously published games and still does so today. So far, only a single podcast by George Cropper has noted that he won and was “vindicated.”
Mobigame was asked to pay thousands of dollars in legal costs in the U.K. and France, but Langdell said it has yet to make payments based on court deadlines. Edge Games also won a case in the U.S. against Razer for use of the term Edge.
“We were proven to be the true owners of the [trademark] Edge’ and Mobigame’s use was shown to be unlawfully passing off on our rights in the trademark in the U.K. and France,” Langdell said.
He added, “Consequently, there is not the slightest indication I or Edge ever acted badly in this dispute with Mobigame and certainly never acted as a trademark troll as Papazian falsely stated and as so many news outlets falsely repeated as if it were fact. With respect, the utter destruction by the game press of my prior very good reputation in the game industry, as a founding member of the industry, was undeserved and unfair.”
Edge Games has been making games for decades, with six titles in recent years, while Mobigame has not released a new title in over a decade and was active from 2009 to 2012.
“I very much hope that at last the truth can be written about this dispute with Mobigame, that we were in the right all along and the accusations against my company and me personally never did have any foundation or merit,” Langdell said.
Langdell said the case took a long time in the courts and tribunals because of the complexities over who filed what and when. In the U.S., after canceling some early filings, Edge Games became second in line and had to oppose Mobigames’ registration of the trademark.
Much of the game press stopped covering the story around 2016. Delays pushed much of the real litigation to 2019. And then Edge Games started winning rulings up through this year. Langdell considers the British case to have the best adjudication of the facts. A couple of writers I contacted declined to comment.
“They went over our sales records and went over the history of our marketing, the history of that website in 1995, and our archives, or Wayback Machine, shows that website,” Langdell said. “They just had dispassionately and objectively assessed the situation. The appeal judge said the same thing.”
Those legal victories made Langdell believe that, just as in the case of the false claims of politicians, the courts can eventually establish a good ruling based on the facts. Overall, Mobigames may owe something like $3,300 to Edge Games for the court-ordered legal costs.
Another response from Mobigames
Papazian sent a lengthy reply in response to questions from GamesBeat. While trying to convince me of Langdell’s poor character, he belittled my ability to do reporting and he brought up a Wikipedia page in response for a query about proof on whether Langdell is a “trademark troll.” Papazian said it is already well-documented. Langdell replied that he won the cases in the U.K. and France.
“In fact, a U.S. District Court judge ( a reference to the EA case) labeled Langdell as such. This isn’t gossip or opinion; it’s a legal judgment. You can easily find this info on Wikipedia and verify it with the sources provided at the bottom of the page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark_troll,” Papazian said.
Langdell replied, “You’ll note that he is unable to give a single example of me or Edge Games acting as a ‘trademark troll.’ Having convinced people back in the 2009-2011 timeframe to label me a troll simply because he claimed I am a troll, getting a number of journalists to repeat it because they didn’t research the issue, and even getting one judge to imply it (but even he didn’t say it), he has since pointed to those statements by others that he caused them to make as the only ‘proof’ I am a troll. He has never been able to come up with a single piece of evidence that I am actually a trademark troll.”
As for the Wikipedia page, Langdell said there has been a lively “talk” section of that page, “including people stating they have repeatedly removed my name from the page but some malicious person keeps putting it back there.”
As for the judge in the EA case, Langdell said, “What the judge said in his ‘opinion’ (based solely on EA repeating to him what Papazian had said), is ‘It remains open to question whether plaintiff’s business activities extend beyond trolling for licensing opportunities.’ That is not labelling me a troll, and the final decision in the case said no one was found guilty of any wrongdoing and we were found to have valid sales of our games. So clearly that voided his opinion of us doing nothing other than trolling for licenses — especially as there was no evidence of our trying to get licenses (we still don’t know why the judge opined that given even EA didn’t suggest we were trolling for licenses).”
Papazian also ridiculed GamesBeat. “For a journalist, I’d expect a quick check on something as accessible as Wikipedia to be a given. Simon Carless and Simon Parkin are two journalists who, in the past, did their homework and came prepared with informed questions.”
Papazian pointed to other people who have interactions with Langdell, such as Robert Figgins, the owner of the copyright to Bobby Bearing, the CEO of Velocity Micro; Steve Jarratt, the founder of EDGE Magazine; and he referenced the final order by the judge in the EA case. He brought up a judgement in the U.K. case against Future, including an alleged “manipulated floppy disk with the Edge logo.” And he noted that Soul Edge’s name had to be changed to Soul Caliber due to Langdell.
Langdell replied, “Velocity [Micro] and Future admitted they were infringing our trademark rights in the [trademark] Edge and both settled in our favor. So how does that make me a troll? In Papazian’s twisted world, — whenever we win a legal case — to him that proves I am a troll when any sane person would conclude that trolls don’t win legal cases. The fact the U.K. judge could not understand how computer discs are made is not relevant (I can explain that reference to you if you really wish me to), and we won the dispute with Namco over Soul Edge who amicably agreed to change the game’s name to Soul Blade. What relevance does that have to the question? Again, getting an amicable resolution doesn’t make a troll, it makes me the opposite of a troll.”
Papazian said it’s essential to look up Langdell’s background to get a well-rounded view.
“I have to ask if you reached out to 20th Century Fox regarding Langdell’s claim to their movie ‘The Edge,’ or to Malibu Comics, Datel, and even The Edge from U2 to verify Langdell’s assertions. Yes I have an email from Langdell about U2, and it’s hilarious. Also, you might want to ask him about an incident in the 1980s when a UK developer allegedly broke his nose and why he left the U.K. under questionable circumstances. These stories add layers to the narrative that are worth exploring,” Papazian said.
Regarding the allegations about other companies, Langdell replied, “It obviously annoys him that 21st Century Fox, Datel and Malibu Comics all entered into amicable settlements with Edge Games over their use of the mark Edge. It’s been hard for me to tell over the past 13 years whether he thinks the fact each of these entered into amicable arrangements with us means I am a trademark troll or whether he doubts they did enter into agreements with us, but if so how does that make me a trademark troll?”
Langdell said the reference to U2, someone breaking his nose, and his departure from the U.K. under questionable circumstances are fabrications.
It appears that Langdell is actively seeking positive media coverage to strengthen his position in legal battles, Papazian added.
“[Redacted] made the mistake of falling into this trap, and we were compelled to counter the narrative with indisputable evidence. Should any misinformation arise from your end, be assured we will respond with accurate, well-substantiated information that won’t be to your liking,” Papazian said. “Your role as a journalist carries the responsibility of ensuring accuracy and fairness. Every detail and every piece of legal judgment matters and should be considered to maintain the integrity of the conversation.”
He said that Mobigames’ Zombie Tsunami title has more than 600 million downloads worldwide.
“Battling a trademark troll is not only time-consuming but also a significant financial strain. It becomes increasingly challenging when we find ourselves expending effort to elucidate evident facts to professionals who should ideally be well-versed in them,” Papazian said.
Langdell said, “[Trademark] oppositions are an absolutely standard, entirely legitimate action to take if someone tries to register a mark similar to your own. It is not ‘harassment’ to file such oppositions, nor are these oppositions what we would ever usually call ‘legal actions’ and certainly are not ‘suing someone.’ And I say this because that two page list Papazian linked you to of our actions before the USPTO since 1993 are nearly all oppositions. Not evidence of harassment (as he likes to falsely say) but evidence Edge Games has for decades been doing exactly what trademark law requires it to do to protect its Edge [trademarks], and nothing more or less than that.”
To this day, there is skepticism and distrust around Langdell. He believes it is unjustified.
Langdell said he sent out a press release in April and virtually no one responded. He also sent out mock stories in the hopes of making it easier for publications to write. One of those was printed by a site dubbed Indy Gamer News, or IGN (not the IGN you’re probably thinking of).
The site looked fake as it had few other public stories available to read, prompting people to conclude it was fake. Langdell affirmed he did not write it but attributes the piece to a “well-intentioned soul” using the draft news story Edge Games circulated in April 2023 to create it.
There is one trademark case pending in the U.S. between Mobigames and Edge Games. Given the victories in the U.K. and France, Langdell is confident he can win in the U.S.
“I am hoping that now the truth can finally get out there that most people in the industry will be sympathetic about my victory,” he said.
Langdell said he was heartened that some supporters in the industry have stood by him and remember his contributions to games.
One person who supported Langdell’s view said, under condition of anonymity, that the internet has become dangerous over the years where false information is routinely accepted as fact. That person thinks Langdell has been wronged in social media and by the “mob” on the internet.
“If people who own IP are effectively stopped from defending the IP they own, it spells the end of the creative industries in general,” the person said. “While IP should not be used inappropriately to stifle growth, it cannot be ignored either, as it will kill all creative works, in the same way you cannot just go and make pharmaceuticals which other companies have spent billions developing, for all the obvious reasons.”
The person confirmed that they and their family have received death threats related to support for Langdell.
Upon winning the case with Mobigames, Langdell has sent letters to other companies about their use of the word “Edge” in games. Microsoft, which published Bleeding Edge, is one of those. Langdell said that negotiations have continued “amicably” but he could not otherwise comment on it.
A dozen or so other game companies have reached agreements with Edge Games.
Peak’s Edge has been deleted from app stores. PathPix Edge was renamed Draw Edge 3D. Lion Studios agreed to phase out use of Cutting Edge! in the future. Edge of Reality games is being renamed. Sinister Edge was renamed. Edge Mech Ascent has been renamed. Sabers Edge and On the Edge reached a settlement. Absolute Edge was removed from the U.S. registration.
This is probably not earning Langdell any new friends. But Langdell repeated he is under obligation to challenge anyone who uses an Edge [trademark] at the risk of losing the [trademark] if it goes unchallenged. And he is resolving these disputes through negotiation, not by name calling in the press, he said.
“It’s just how the system works,” he said.
He said he is proud of last year’s Super Cookie Blast!, which he acknowledged may seem like yet another Candy Crush style game, but one he carefully designed so each level rewarded “outside the box” thinking to solve. The game has an AI mode where it adjusts difficulty based on the skill of the gamer.
“If you want to say that we shouldn’t be able to own the common name, then that’s your opinion. Trademark law permits it. We historically have Apple, we have Windows. Microsoft even has Edge. Nobody is saying how dare they use a browser name for the trademark. To pick a totally different trademark would be easiest thing. But there’s nothing wrong with what I’ve done. It’s not wrong, immoral, unethical, illegal, nothing. It’s just a choice. Now I’m hoping we can start making games and get bigger budget games which I hope will be well received.”
Langdell studied physics and psychology at the United Kingdom’s Leicester University in the 1980s, and he got a master’s degree and a PhD from University College London/Institute of Psychology. He did early research on autism. In 1980/1981, he founded the game company Softek and wrote books on game programming. He has designed or helped design over 100 games.
He said he has been making games since the early 1980s, and as Edge since 1984. He has made “modest contributions” to gaming as he was the founding governor of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, served as executive producer of the first ever televised game awards (Cybermania in 1994) and started the first game design classes at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (then The School of Cinema Television). He helped start the British Federation Against Software Theft, which lobbied the U.K. to include software as something that could be copyrighted.
Langdell said he is proud of these accomplishments.
“There’s also a sense of pride because we produced some pretty good people over time,” he said. “We met not only success ourselves, but I think people that have worked for us have had success. “And the period I was teaching at USC there’s quite a few of those that come on. fundamental.”
Langdell said he “sincerely (believes) the destruction of the high positive regard I was held in by the game industry prior to 2009 was, and is, undeserved. Surely it’s time for Papazian’s 14-year long smear campaign against me to be brought to a close and, to whatever extent possible, the damage his campaign has caused me, and my company be reversed.”
Papazian closed his comments with this remark, “I have duly warned you that Langdell may attempt to mislead. Should any defamatory material find its way into your publication, be aware that citing Langdell won’t serve as a viable defense; the laws concerning online defamation are stringent both in the U.S. and Europe. I trust your judgment and hope for a balanced and accurate portrayal of events. Nevertheless, be assured that the truth will be pursued diligently, no matter the cost.”
Langdell acknowledges the company hasn’t been able to do many original, cutting-edge games, and he partly blames the litigation and legal fees for that. But he hopes to do better with bigger budgets in the future. He said there are six games in the works.
He wants to make a game related to autism, something he studied before he got into games. He said he is looking forward to Mobigames’ Edge being removed from Apple’s App Store.
“The devastation caused my reputation in the gaming industry is not based on anything that was true,” Langdell said. “It has had really devastating effects over 14 years. To try and rehabilitate, if I ever can, is pretty crazy.”
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