Edge Games boss Tim Langdell says EA's petition to have his company's trademarks canceled is a "last desperate attempt" to win the right to trademark Mirror's Edge, which is "obviously destined to fail."
Electronic Arts filed a petition earlier this month with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, seeking to have several trademarks currently held by Edge Games declared void. The company claims it was forced into taking action after Edge Games "continuously threatened" it with lawsuits over the 2008 game Mirror's Edge, adding that many of the marks currently registered to Edge were obtained fraudulently and haven't been used in any commercial products for several years.
Langdell disputes those claims, of course, and indicated in an emailed statement that he's prepared to fight for the trademarks. The U.S. Federal Court issued a ruling in favor of Edge in September 2008, he said, finding that the company does in fact own all the U.S. trademarks it currently claims, that it did not commit fraud in any of its U.S. trademark applications and that it has used those marks in commerce within the past five years. Furthermore, he added, a "watershed event" occurred in September 2008 when EA abandoned its effort to register Mirror's Edge as a trademark; a filing on the same day to register Mirror's Edge as a "combination mark and design" is also "certain to fail."
"This petition by EA is clearly a desperate attempt by EA to see if they can win the right to use Mirror's Edge by forcibly removing Edge's legitimate rights to 'Edge'," Langdell said. "And this attempt will fail, leaving EA even more exposed than they already are by their Express Abandonment of their 2007 application. (Which stands as an acceptance of Edge's rights, else why abandon the 2007 application? If EA's 2007 application for Mirror's Edge was legitimate then why did EA actively and deliberately abandon it?)"
Claims that the trademarks held by Edge aren't in use are also false, he added, pointing to games now available for sale at the Edge Store, including Racers, the 2004 PC RPG Mythora and J2ME versions of Bobby Bearing, Pengu and Battlepods. "Clearly, Edge has not abandoned its trademark and that allegation is obviously destined to fail," he said.
"The reality here is that EA tried every legal angle they could think of to argue that their use of Mirror's Edge was not an infringement of Edge's rights in 'Edge,' 'The Edge,' and Edge's family of registered 'Edge' marks," Langdell said. "Their best hope was to try to argue that Mirror's Edge is distinct from 'Edge' because of the addition of the word 'Mirror's,' but in September 2008 - two months before they launched the game - the US Trademark Office said they disagreed with EA and decided that Mirror's Edge does infringe on Edge's mark 'Edge'."
"Once EA lost the argument that Mirror's Edge is not distinct from 'Edge' their only hope was to try to argue that Edge 'does not really own' its nearly 30-year-old trademarks," he continued. "Hence this last desperate attempt by EA via this petition (which is nauseatingly and disingenuously styled as being done on behalf of the game developer community, clearly in the hope that developers and game press will state things that EA can then try to use to its benefit in the petition hearing). EA has no hope of winning this petition; all this petition does is put off a final definitive decision on the matter for perhaps a further year so that EA can argue that this matter should not impact it financially."
As a final note, Langdell claimed that Edge hasn't "repeatedly" threatened EA with litigation at all and has actually spent the past year attempting to negotiate an amicable settlement on the use of the trademark. "Edge would not have been so foolish as to threaten EA with a lawsuit while negotiating a settlement," he said. "EA recently broke off settlement talks without explaining to Edge why it had done so. Edge naturally is now suspicious the settlement talks were in bad faith and merely a pretense in order to play for time."
(Documents referenced by Langdell are available at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office website, specifically the Notice of Abandonment dated September 9, 2009, and the Suspension Letter dated September 18, 2009.)