Edge Games, the notoriously litigational company that claims domain over all things “Edge,” sued EA in June over Mirror’s Edge, claiming the publisher ignored all efforts to negotiate a settlement over its use of the “Edge” name and then released it without consent. The suit followed legal jockeying that included a denied application by EA to register Mirror’s Edge with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and a subsequent petition to cancel several of Edge’s trademarks. Edge Games demanded an injunction against EA and hefty financial damages.
But the courts sided with EA in a big way, not just dismissing the case but also taking clear note of the dodgy nature of Langdell’s business, including the fact that Edge Games apparently used a faked magazine cover and game boxes to assert its trademarks despite not having actually made any games between 1989 and “at least 2003.”
“Given the suspect nature of Dr. Langdell’s representations to both the USPTO and the Court concerning plaintiff’s current and future sales and business activities, it is an open question whether plaintiff’s business activities legitimately extend beyond trolling various gaming-related industries for licensing opportunities,” wrote Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court.
“EA also presents compelling evidence that there was no bona fide use of the ‘Edge’ mark in commerce by plaintiff, its licensees, or its predecessors in interest at all between 1989 and to at least 2003. Even after 2003, the evidence that plaintiff had been making bona fide use of the ‘Edge’ mark in commerce is suspect,” he continued. “For example, Dr. Langdell’s declaration asserted that Edge Games has been selling the video game Mythora (supposedly bearing the ‘Edge’ mark) since 2004. Curiously, while the exterior packaging submitted by Dr. Langdell to the USPTO for the Mythora video game included a website address, this website wasn’t even registered by Edge Games until October 2008 – nearly four years after the game’s purported release.”
That’s bad enough, but things really got ugly for Langdell when the judge warned that he could be facing criminal charges for his past misdeeds. “The record contains numerous items of evidence that plaintiff willfully committed fraud against the USPTO in obtaining and/or maintaining registrations for many of the asserted ‘Edge’ marks, possibly warranting criminal penalties if the misrepresentations prove true,” he wrote.
The decision has no direct bearing on any of Edge’s other licenses (or the conflicts that have arisen therefrom) and it’ll be awhile yet before all the various legal knots are untangled. Given the court’s strongly-worded criticism of Langdell’s behavior, however, it certainly appears that his days of influence are numbered.