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Class Acts: Or Not. The IGDA, Langdell, Capps and "Policing" the Board.
by Stephen Jacobs on 06/01/09 04:06:00 am   Expert Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

First, before I get into this, let me state the following up front. 

1. I have been very involved with the IGDA over the past 4-5 years, acting as an executive member of the IGDA Writers and Education SIGs and have promoted the IGDA as an organization to my colleagues in those fields.  I count several past and current board members as professional colleagues and friends. Professionally and personally my work with the IGDA SIGs has been very rewarding.

2. I did some early work with Tim Langdell in attempting to establish an association for game educators and researchers.  Said association never got off the ground. Tim has done some good work in attempting to build linkages between the Writers Guild of America and The IGDA Writers SIG.  Tim has also caused some controversy in some of the SIGs I am a member of.  I did not vote for Tim when he ran recently ran, and won a seat, on the IGDA Board. I once bought Tim a hamburger in a bar in Austin during the Austin Game Conference (now the Austin GDC)

 Ok, now that all that is out of the way, some thoughts...

Langdell's "Appointment to the Board":  Whether Simon Carless was responsible or irresponsible in his reporting and characterization of Langdell's previous trademark disputes he absolutely got one thing wrong when he said that Tim had been "appointed" to the IGDA board.  The board doesn't appoint anyone, you guys elect them (or at least the subset of you that are IGDA members). IGDA board members run for their lofty positions by self-nominating and putting up a 400 word statement on the IGDA web site, public as the day is long.  As far as their qualifications go, they must be members in good standing, have been so for two years and adhere to the board code of ethics (more about that in a moment). No one in the community of IGDA members (including individual Board Members) voiced any public objections to his candidacy at any time.  A majority of members voted for him.  So it goes.

The Board is weak, apologist and defending it's own:  Not.  A board is a legal entity with specific duties, responsibilities and processes. It's behavior is strictly regimented. A board that deviates from them can be legally liable, as a group and individually, for any steps it takes. Whether individually or as a group a Board supports the actions of an individual member outside of Board business is immaterial.  See more below.

"Disconnect" between Board Code of Ethics and IGDA Mission and Core Values?:  Fellow Expert Blogger Adam Saltzman points to the IGDA mission and core values and opines that Langdell's behavior flies in the face of them. The current Board Code of Ethics doesn't require a Board member to subscribe to all the Core Values of the organization itself.  Even if it did, it's not clear that Langdell's current action against "Edge, the iPhone game" violates the letter of those core values, whether or not you feel they violate the spirit.  The nature of Trademark law requires that a Trademark must be defended or it is lost.  The courts get to decide whether Langdell is using the law and his trademark as a legitimate defense of an active business entity's brand or a valueless claim made by an individual extorting others for licensing fees.

A more obvious conflict for the IGDA board arose over Mike Capps' statement last year that he supported a "corporate culture" of a 60+ hour work week.  While QoL isn't directly listed in the IGDA Core Values it has been a major linchpin of the organization platform for some time.

It could be said that Capps' comments, made in his capacity as a member of the IGDA Board at the time, "undermined and impeded the activities of the IGDA" and were worthy of his removal from the board for said violating the Code of Ethics.

Whether or not individual Board Members believe Langdell is morally or ethically in the right in this instance of his business practices outside of his Board activities, there's not much they can do about it. He has not, acting in his capacity as a Board Member, undermined the IGDA in the way that Capps did.

However, there is someone else that can do something about it.  That's you.

To Do List: Short and Long Term.

Short Term:  IGDA By-Laws state "Any director may be removed from such office, with or without cause, by a majority vote of the voting members of the Corporation at any regular or special meeting of the members called expressly for that purpose. In addition, the Board of Directors may declare vacant the office of any Director who fails or ceases to meet any required qualification that was in effect at the beginning of that Director’s current term of office."

Again, the Board has to make a specific case to remove any officer for cause, which generally has to do with how a Board Member conducts his duties for, and as part of, the board.  On the other hand, if enough IGDA members believe that an officer should be removed for any reason whatsoever (eye color, for example) they can call for a special member meeting and, if they have the votes, remove him.

Of course, you'd have to be an IGDA member to vote, so if you're motivated enough to write an article/blog, or comment on one, perhaps you'll be motivated to join up to make a change. I've seen several bloggers and commenters state that they'd consider discontinuing their membership over the Capps and Langdell instances.  Resigning merely maintains the status quo. Why not get active instead?

Long Term:  If you believe that there needs to be a tighter integration between the By-Laws, Board Member Code of Ethics and the Goals and Values of the organization, "Make it So." To do so, see the above call to action.

Bottom Line:  You is the IGDA :-).  This is not some monolithic, unassailable evil empire.  It's a group of volunteers trying to support and improve an industry that often has little interest in improvment and certainly outpowers it by several orders of magnitude.  The Board serves at the pleasure of its members and it is the members that make things happen. 

 Look at the increased visibility of QoL as an issue, look at the Education SIGs' awesome Global Game Jam, look at the THREE BOOKS published by the Writers SIG in an effort to improve the craft, bring more Writers into the field and gain visibility for the profession, look at the unsung and tireless efforts of the Accessibility SIG to bring games to EVERYONE who wants to play.  There's good stuff going on out there that gets little press as opposed to the times the org gets a black eye.

Join up, roll up your sleeves, fix what you don't like and make what you do like bigger and better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Comments


Stephen Jacobs
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yah, but without the clarification you provide "appointed" makes it sound like a closed process in which the board waved a wand and picked people of their own choosing, rather than putting up the candidates with the most votes. As for lacking a quorum, I encourage non-members to join and all members to become active ones.

Tom Buscaglia
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Tim was the fourth highest vote getter wit over 700 votes. At the time we did not believe that we had a quorum, so the board appointed the 4 highest vote getters to the board. In fact, we were incorrect on our membership numbers due to some double counting and have since learned that there was a quorum.



I was shocked by Simon's lack of journalistic vigor in putting out that article. First, this matter had nothing to do with the IGDA (I don;t even think Tim L. was a member of the Board when this happened), but he lead off in the title was "IGDA Board Member." As far as I am aware, Simon never contacted Tim L. for a comment (one of the most basic tenants of solid journalism) and I know he didn't ask the IGDA Board for a comment either before pushing out this bit of vitriol. Oddly, all of the Board members, except Tim L., received a personal email from David Papzian, the guy accused of Trademark infringement by Tim L. asking for the help of the board at the same moment Simon's article was released. I mean, what's u with that. This whole thing looks like a hatchet job t me...and it was sure not presented with any sense of fairness or balance. Yellow journalism at its finest, which is probably why Think Services, Simon's bosses, made him pull it down.



About the Mike Capps keffuffle...Mike was speaking at an IGDA event (our Leadership Forum) on a penal entitled "Studio Heads on the Hot Seat." He was not speaking as a Board member but as the President of Epic Games, though we was a member of the IGDA Board at the time, we do not gag Board members and through out their tenure they continue to have the right to their personal opinions, even if they seem to be at odd with some of e positions of the IGDA...as for my opinion about his opinion...I have already been very clear on that point!

Stephen Jacobs
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Wouldn't want Board members gagged. As to Mike's comments in the past it's clear that its difficult for people to separate a Board Member speaking at an IGDA function from his Board role, a lesson that it would be good for IGDA to learn to avoid further issues.

Adam Saltsman
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A small independent developer had their entire European distribution channel shut down by an IGDA board member who has never even worked on a game, and whose company's last game is at least 15 years old.



But sure, a few emails are "a hatchet job."

Adam Saltsman
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*RAGE METER COOLING*



Stephen I think your writeup is pretty reasonable, but I think a lot of us are still unsure of the benefits of the IGDA at large, despite our activity in our local branches. I haven't been compelled to renew my official membership for years, and stuff like this tends to reinforce that gut feeling, rather than encourage my renewal/adoption. I guess it's hard for me to see it as anything but "Don't like how things are going? Pay us $50!" Which causes me no end of confusion :)



Anyways I appreciate the cool-headed examination of the situation, but disagree with the practice of simply disregarding a board member's professional behavior. Since it is THE industry organization, and these professionals are ostensibly active in the industry in some way, I don't see how their behavior cannot be tightly coupled to their performance as a board member. In a lot of ways I think these people kind of represent the industry, and a lot of us do not like what Tim represents.



I don't know if that's fair or legal but I think it's a common attitude regardless!

Craig Stern
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I have a written a response (though admittedly, it is mostly responding to Tom Buscaglia's remark above):



http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/CraigStern/20090601/1628/The_Tim_L
angdell_Debacle_and_the_IGDA.php

Stephen Jacobs
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Hey Adam, thanks for the comments.



Benefits of any professional association generally fall into two categories, tangible and intangible. Tangible benefits of most professional associations tend to run toward discounts, exclusive privileges, publications, access to industry experts, group health insurance programs for their uninsured members, etc. IGDA has some of these but not all of them. Current full lists can be found at http://www.igda.org/join/ and at http://www.igda.org/join/. At the bare minimum, by taking advantage of one or more of these discounts you can break even on the money you spent on membership or event "get ahead" a little. As far as I know IGDA is working on beefing these up as they can. Professional associations like the Association for Computing Machinery Can offer huge benefits because they are over 50 years old, cover almost everything that has anything to do with computers, are run by large teams of full-time professional association amnagers, etc. IGDA and their single professional director and small professional association managing group is tiny compared to them.



What makes a professional association generally worthy of dollars spent is the way they can help you professionally and the way they can help the profession overall.



The real way they help you professionally is if you're active. Volunteering to work with a chapter or a SIG initially helps you with networking. Becoming the leader of a SIG initiative helps you get new experiences and new credits under your belt and distinguishes you from being just another "game guy" (or gal).



Intangibles in the small look something like this. I'd been going to GDC for a few years before I really got involved and knew very few people in the industry. I first got involved with the Writers SIG and then the Education SIG. I now know hundreds of people in the industry, have gained recognition for the work that I do, gotten additional publishing and speaking opportunities that I never would have had without my work in the IDGA and have transformed myself from a relative unknown to an "Expert Blogger" among other things :-). Most of what I've gotten out of it has been based on what I put in and tied to my career needs as a game professor and journalist, but there are tons of stories out there of folks across the development spectrum who can say the same. Last, but certainly not least are the friendships that have grown out of working virtually shoulder to shoulder with folks on things we all care about.



Intangibles in the large are the kinds of things I mentioned above, things that help the industry overall. Take the Global Game Jam. Three front-line volunteers (Gorm, Ian and Susan) and a handful of others (proud to say I was one) got 1,650 students and professionals around the world to churn out over 300 games in a weekend. The event was extremely high profile garnering hundreds of press hits large and small and put something positive about games out there for a change instead of the usual "Seduction of the Innocent" kind of crap press we get. It was also an extremely positive experience for those people who participated as developers or site coordinators. And we're gonna do it again :-)



Look at the tireless (and unsung, I'm sad to say) efforts of Michelle Hinn, Chair of the Game Accessibility SIG and her group to get the industry to support the needs of ALL gamers who want to play. I'm proud to say that Kevin Bierre of that SIG's leadership is a colleague of mine at RIT. Reid Kimball, another of that SIG's leaders is a former student of mine (though he knew was awesone BEFORE he walked into my class, can't take any credit there) and has joined the Writers SIG as well and is making great contributions in all of those places.



QoL may have hit the general public's radar screen with EA Spouse but the IGDA has been pushing it before and since and continues to keep the topic alive when many in the industry would like it to go away.



I could go on and on, but the idea is that the $50 membership helps pay for the infrastructure for the organization that allows these volunteers to do what they do. Even if the tangible benefits don't seem inspiring, perhaps supporting the good work of all these volunteers might be worth the investment. That's really why most people pay membership fees to Professional Associations, to provide the base that keeps the intangibles happening.



Unfortunately, the negatives always draw the attention. As people in the game development industry we know that one nut case who plays games and decides to go out with a splash gets more visibility than any of the unending positives about games and the industry. So it is with the IGDA, that mostly gets visibility if there's a controversy.



"Don't like how things are going? Pay us $50!" Which causes me no end of confusion :)



Can't vote unless you're a member. Same as any professional org on Earth. Ensures that you're literally paying your dues, that you're committed to some level of activity within the organization. Cuts down on the spam, if you will :-)



As to your second paragraph I've pretty much said all I can say on it. Different organizations have different expectations, rights and responsibilities tied to board membership and after the current issue, the board and/or the membership of the IGDA might wanna take another look at theirs. Then there's the other point that Tom and others have made elsewhere. Mr. Langdell is exercising his legal right to protect the Trademark he owns and the courts will support him or not.



With all due respect and sympathy toward Mobi Games' plight, anyone releasing a new product or starting a new company of any type just needs to whistle up the trademark databases on-line and check to make sure

they're not stepping on anyone's toes before they lockdown a name. I've started several small businesses, run a product review blog in the early days of the web (96) and created and broadcast a radio show for three years here in Rochester. Anytime I do go down that road, hitting the trademark database is one of the first things I do because whether the "cease and desist" letter/lawsuit is generated by a legitimate complainant or a "Trademark Troll" I'd rather avoid it either way.



Hope that wasn't too long-winded and was useful.

Stephen Jacobs
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Wow, it's longer than my original post :-) Guess it might have been too long-winded after all.

Adam Saltsman
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Stephen thanks for all the info! It definitely is useful, and I appreciate you taking the time to lay that all out for me.



I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on whether or not Tim's actions are relevant to his role in the IGDA or not. The problem I think is that in cases like these, it is NOT in fact about the court's decision at all. The big companies involved don't have the time or patience to fight these things; they just take the easy way out (see the ruling on Tim's suit against Namco). In THIS case, however, it was not a bigger company electing to rename a new franchise. It was Apple pulling EDGE without any judgment from any court on the matter.



So yeah, legally speaking, obviously it comes down to whether "the courts will support him or not". However, the damage is already done, and the court's ruling will likely be moot, as it was before.

Tim Langdell
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I would like to get some facts straight.



First, no one “pulled” Mobigame’s iPhone game (in the sense of EDGE Games complaining to Apple and Apple then “pulling” the game). Mobigame’s game was not “unceremoniously yanked” from the U.S. and UK AppStores. No one sued Mobigame. The truth is Mobigame voluntarily withdrew their game from the Apple AppStores in the U.S. and UK. What was said was clearly an attempt to make the legitimate actions of a company look like an individual’s poor treatment of a fellow indie game company. In naming their game “EDGE” Mobigame broke the law. EDGE informed Apple of the infringement and Apple sent one of their standard letters to Mobigame. Mobigame’s attorney replied to EDGE at Apple’s request saying that if EDGE produced evidence of its registered rights in the mark “EDGE” then she would advise her client to take the game down and rename it. EDGE supplied that proof of registered rights, Mobigame’s attorney thanked EDGE and advised Mobigame to take the game down, which they did. Mobigame have so far refused to rename the game so that it can be resubmitted to the U.S. and UK App Stores, but that has been entirely their choice.



In contrast, Mobigame has been bullying EDGE by saying EDGE may not use its nearly 30-year old mark EDGE in Europe unless EDGE gets Mobigame’s permission first. Last Friday EDGE refused to sign an agreement in response to Papazian’s demand that EDGE do so, which is undoubtedly what led to Mobigame starting this flame war here in the U.S. with the sole intent of trying to embarrass EDGE (and me as EDGE’s CEO) into agreeing to their unreasonable proposal. Indeed, that is undoubtedly why the attack was on me as an individual, and me as a Board member of the IGDA, and not on EDGE Games, since Papazian thought he could cause maximum embarrassment this way.



Third, neither EDGE, nor I, nor Future Publishing, have ever sued anyone over our EDGE trademarks. In almost 30 years in the game industry neither I nor EDGE has ever started any litigation on such issues, so it is not just a twisting of the truth to talk in terms of “the litigious habits of […] Tim Langdell,” it is flat-out not true. EDGE has only taken entirely reasonable action that is required of it by law to protect its rights. Since I personally own no trademarks, there was certainly no truth to the accusation that I have personally been trying to enforce “my” trademarks. Just to be clear, actions in trademark offices (such as the Namco Souledge issue) are not “law suits” or “litigation” they are part of standard trademark office procedures that any responsible company in the game industry is required to follow to protect their trademarks. By opposing a trademark application a company is not “suing” the other company, or “litigating,” they are merely following the process the trademark office requires them to of application/publication/opposition leading to registration or refusal. EDGE has never engaged in anything other than entirely legitimate practices to protect its trademarks.



Fourth, a Virginia Court document was quoted from that said that EDGE had tried to obfuscate and mislead the court. What was not mentioned (since it did not help fuel the intended goal of getting people angry with me) was that the court order in question was voided with the court later deciding EDGE had not tried to obfuscate or mislead it. There was never any question of me personally behaving badly in that court matter, but even the initial decision that EDGE had acted badly was reversed by the court.



Last, in my role as CEO of EDGE I have produced all of the several hundred game SKUs EDGE has developed and published since 1979, and thus that statement was entirely true, as was every other statement I have made about my accomplishments over the years. I have never sought to claim someone else's work as my own, that accusation was only said in an attempt to defame me. EDGE has been active as an indie game developer and publisher at all times over the last several decades and has a number of games in development at this time.

Adam Saltsman
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Tim, if it is alright I am going to take Simon's advice and simply ask you some questions, the answers to which I think will help clear up a lot of these misunderstandings!







Why is there only evidence for a total of 26 games ever produced by EDGE under any of its aliases if you personally have worked on "several hundred" (300+) of them?



Did you know that the word "edge" is a common word in the English language and that aggressively defending your ownership of the term is hard to see as anything but a malevolent abuse of the trademark system?



Why did you suddenly pull your EDGE-branded space travel website, with quotes from advisor Buzz Aldrin?



Exactly how does a movie like "The Edge" infringe on your trademark in the games industry?



Has EDGE produced or published any video games since 1994?



What possible confusion could the game "Soul Edge" have caused? Surely "MIRROR'S EDGE" is just as confusing?



Why are you marketing your new game project as "MIRROR'S EDGE"?







Please help us to clear up these misunderstandings!

Stephen Jacobs
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Thanks Tim.

Tim Langdell
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That's OK Adam, I welcome reasonable questions that aren't just intended to re-ignite the flame war. I can't respond to all your questions for reasons I am not at liberty to divulge, but here are some answers for you:



"Why is there only evidence for a total of 26 games ever produced by EDGE under any of its aliases if you personally have worked on "several hundred" (300+) of them?"

If by "evidence" you mean what is listed on Moby Games then it is true that it is a pity that Moby Games is so incomplete and something EDGE is working to correct. But if you search the other sources available to you on the internet you will find several hundred SKUs attributed to Softek/The Edge/Edge/etc. If you can wait a little we are working on making this clearer for people since we appreciate the misleading picture given by Moby Games is confusing some people.



"Did you know that the word "edge" is a common word in the English language and that aggressively defending your ownership of the term is hard to see as anything but a malevolent abuse of the trademark system?"

Hmmm... I am trying to think of how to answer this without it sounding like I am lecturing you on trademark law. So bear with me. First, it is absolutely OK for a company to use and trademark a common word or words -- our industry has many, such as "Take Two," "Blizzard," "Midway," "Electronic Arts," "Apple," etc etc. I am not sure how to respond to your implication that it is somehow 'wrong' to use and register EDGE in particular, other than to point you to the fact that very large reputable companies such as Ford (crossover vehicle) and S.C. Johnson (shaving cream) have decided along with Future Publishing and ourselves that EDGE is a trademarkable term and there is nothing wrong with using it as a trademark or defending one's rights in the mark. Yes, it can be somewhat harder to protect as a mark since people who dont know about trademark law think it must be all right to use a common word, but it is perfectly legitimate. As to your suggestion that EDGE's actions to protect its trademark rights have been "aggressive" I can only respond that they have been no more than the law requires them to be. The law calls on a company to be "vigilant" in its trademark policing and protection practices or risk losing the registration. EDGE has only ever employed entirely legitimate measures to protect its marks and has endeavored to be vigilant as the law requires it to be.



"Exactly how does a movie like "The Edge" infringe on your trademark in the games industry?"

Who said it did?



"Has EDGE produced or published any video games since 1994?"

Yes.

Adam Saltsman
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The part of your wikipedia entry that related to the licensing of "The Edge" to the Anthony Hopkins film has been removed, so I'm not entirely sure who said it.



I am eager to hear about any of these 300 games!



Also eager to hear the name of any game that you worked on since 1994, I am sad that you were unable to provide one here.

Paul Eres
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What is the evidence that Mobigame is trying to bully Langdell into having to ask Mobigame's permission in order to use the EDGE trademark? Or even that it refuses to change its name? Is it just his word? From what I gather, Mobigame only wishes to be able to keep selling its game, not to somehow steal the word.



I also think it's incorrect to say that simply by naming a game Edge they were breaking the law. That hasn't yet been determined. Consider this (from Wikipedia):



"Likelihood of confusion is not necessarily measured by actual consumer confusion, though normally one of the elements, but by a series of criteria Courts have established. A prime example is the test announced by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in AMF, Inc v Sleekcraft Boats, 599 F.2d 341 (C.A.9) 1979. The Court there announced eight specific elements to measure likelihood of confusion:



- Strength of the mark

- Proximity of the goods

- Similarity of the marks

- Evidence of actual confusion

- Marketing channels used

- Type of goods and the degree of care likely to be exercised by the purchaser

- Defendant's intent in selecting the mark

- Likelihood of expansion of the product lines

"



Let's examine a few of those. Is Edge a "strong" mark? No, almost nobody has heard of Edge, this is the first I've heard of them. They're a small and relatively unknown developer. Similarity: one is a game, the other is a company. Evidence of actual confusion: nonexistent. Nobody would confuse that game with that company, and I'm pretty certain nobody has. Type of goods: different: a game is not a game company. Intent: Mobigame was not acting malevolently, they had clearly never heard of Edge (the company) before naming their game Edge, it was just an honest mistake.

Paul Eres
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Another thing to consider is a seemingly bizarre collection of websites, presumably all owned by Langdell, all with the word "Edge" in it. There's a website for an Edge space program. There's a website for Edge website design. The list goes on and on. None of those are operational groups or entities, they're just websites with a similar Flash design. The intent is obvious: to own the word Edge across as many varied fields as possible by setting up fake sites for nonexistent operations. Some of these, due to the recent controversy, have been taken down, but as of this writing some still exist. Not to mention that Edge started working on a game called "Mirror", presumably after hearing about Mirror's Edge, presumably in the hope of increasing their case against it. Evidence like that is what causes people to view him as a bit eccentric regarding the word Edge. It goes beyond protecting a trademark, it comes off as using a trademark as a weapon when there's nothing substantial that actually falls under that trademark.

C M Williams
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This has all been very informative.

Paul Eres
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"

Q: What made you stop the scene activity ? (and do you remember when?)

A: We stopped programming after the disastrous court case with the edge, a software house in london directed by tim "slimy" landell. We converted Solder of Light to C64 from the arcade which was completed in 6 months but according to Tim Landell should have been completed in three months (yeaa right) so they refused to pay us. So we decided to take the Edge to court but Tim Landell left the country for America. With no money we were forced to sell all our equipment to settle outstanding loans from the bank. So we both went esparto ways and concentrated on normal carers.

"



Courtesy of Derek Yu, that's an interview from two developers. That happened in 1988. Seems Langdell has been doing this for a long time.



http://imr.ip-design.com/imr/iview/c33i_m.htm

david Papazian
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Hi everyone,



I see I have some to clarify some points.



On friday May 29th I answered to a simple question: "Why EDGE is not the App Store". You can see my answer on FingerGaming.com

http://fingergaming.com/2009/05/28/update-edge-pulled-over-alledg
ed-trademark-infringement/

I called Joe...er Tim a few weeks ago to find a solution with him, I told him I had to give a reason what he understood.

Neither me or my partners never made any further comments until now. We did not know Simon Carless or Owen Good before, we asked them nothing, but we really appreciate their work and we will support them if needed.

So saying "Papazian thought he could cause maximum embarrassment this way." is a first lie.

The "flame war" was declared in 1993, but it is not my role to tell you how (I was only 15 at this time, making my first C demos)



Regarding the trademark issue.

I have no other choice than giving you some proofs to clarify so much lies. I must admit Tim's English is better than mine.

We received several emails from Tim with the subject "Law Suis Being Filed" saying : "We have thus instructed our attorneys in Los Angeles and London to file suit against your company and against you personally early Monday morning, April 27, 2009". Later he adds: "We own the mark EDGE throughout Europe, too, and in all other countries worldwide that iTunes is available in [...] We will sue you too in all those other countries as well and this matter will either get resolved by all those law suits going to a conclusion (that will cost you not less than several million dollars) or by you seeing sense and settling with us." and again: "We have instructed our attorneys to start the law suits in the U.S. and UK today, and you will be served with those complaints through your attorney next week.".

He is right on one point, Mobigame decided, and not Apple, to pull off temporarily the game from the U.S and U.K store in April without recognizing Tim's company any rights

He also said he contacted Apple Inc., and they would not allow us to get the game back on the store in the U.S and the U.K without his permission. I guess he lied.



We offered Tim to change the name of the game to EDGY for the U.S. Here is a part of his answer: "We would very strongly oppose your use of EDGY which is clearly just adding the "y" sound to the end of our famous trademark EDGE". And you know what he did? He registered the trademark EDGY in the U.S on May 16th! is that legal??

Like he registered "MIRROR'S SPORE" and "SOUL SPORE" in the U.K for his company Edge Games. (cf. Mirror's Edge and Spore by EA, Soul Edge by Namco)



We asked him several times to give us the contact of his legal counsel, or of another member of Edge Games. Tim stays our only contact

We asked him several times to give us proves of its recent use of the mark EDGE. He never did

We asked him several times to give us proves of his link with Future Publishing. He never did



There are a lot of things more to say. For example he wrote to Apple saying EDGE is a clone of a game called bobby bearing, and he would sue us for copyright infrigment also.

But I choosed to answer to Tim's comment only.

If a U.S attorney wants to give us some advises, I can send him/her the records for this case.



I am sorry to see Gamasutra censored the article by Simon, but let Tim writes so much lies here. We deserve an explanation for that.



His company is currently having 3 known legal issues, with EA, Cybernet and Mobigame.

I must say we never heard of Edge Games or Tim Langdell before April 2009, when he sent his first letters.



Now, as an individual, and with all my respect to Tim, I ask to the IGDA to take him out of our association where the game EDGE was presented in November last year:

http://igda.paris.free.fr/spip.php?article48

http://translate.google.fr/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Figda.paris.fr
ee.fr%2Fspip.php%3Farticle48&sl=fr&tl=en&hl=fr&ie=UTF-8)



Thanks to all for your support



David

www.mobigame.net

Craig Stern
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Hi Tim, I'm glad to see you taking the time to present your side of things. I think it's a wee bit misleading, though, to suggest that you've never been in litigation with anybody. Even if all of your past appearances in court were merely oppositions to trademark registration, an opposition to trademark registration is still a form of litigation despite the fact that it occurs before an administrative agency rather than a court.



Paul, you've found the correct test for likelihood of confusion, but keep in mind that that is a multi-factor balancing test. Different courts give different weight to different factors, depending on the evidence presented, and many factors are not of equal value to both sides. For example, while some courts give great weight to a finding of bad faith use by the defendant, almost none draw the inverse conclusion for a defendant who acts in good faith. Same thing for evidence of actual confusion: if it's present, it helps the plaintiff a lot, but if it isn't, the court typically just ignores the factor altogether.



David, you should really get yourself a lawyer. That's all I can really say about that. :)

Stephen Jacobs
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David, thanks for posting your side as well.

Tim Langdell
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David, needless to say your version of events differs from ours. We echo Craig in strongly recommending you hire a trademark attorney.



Craig, with due respect, hearings before a trademark office are decidedly not litigation and the fact we have been involved in some such hearings because the law requires us to does not make us "litigious." Saying "..your past appearances in court were merely oppositions.." is not helpful given that one does not appear in a court when dealing with oppositions. There is no court involved in trademark hearings, indeed many are handled as phone conversations and companies are not required to be represented by an attorney.

C M Williams
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"David, needless to say your version of events differs from ours."



In this particular situation the word differs has trivial meaning. (As you pointed out.)



Of course both parties have had different experiences, but, were his experiences as presented untrue with regards to your actions and the quotes presented?



Would you mind clearing up some of the major inconsistencies?

Marcus Richert
profile image
I can see no reason to doubt Papazian's side of the story (especially as it checks out - Langdell did register "EDGY" on May 16th, see link 1 at the end of this comment), while there's a plenitude of reasons not to believe in Tim Langdell.



Notice, for example, the similarity between comments made on TIGSource forums by an individual using the nick "mopius" (but registered with the e-mail nick "joemangas"), by comments made by a person calling himself "Joe" on TIGSource's front page, a person calling himself "Joe" posting on fingergaming and what none other than Tim Langdell himself is saying right here? Minus the sudden amicability when he's posting with his real name, of course. (links at the bottom, again)



Now the fact that either Langdell or somebody closely affiliated with him (which is apparent from the nature of the comments) called everybody on one of the biggest and most influential forums for independent game developers "douchebags","dickheads" and "fucktards" (direct quotes) is bad enough, but the fact that he time after time dishonestly misrepresents everything about his company and himself doesn't exactly make things any better.



"Nah, dickheads, Future and Edge Games are business partners. I bet Future applied for this on behalf of both of them since it looks like Edge applied for the US trademarks on for both of them then divided them up later. And what moron was saying Edge Games took their logo from Edge magazine? Edge Games was around more than a decade before the magazine was launched and the mag took Edge's logo when they jointly launched it." (Posted by mopius on TIGsource forums - see link 2 below)



This is a complete and utter lie - Tim Langdell didn't jointly launch or "spawn" the magazine (the latter word is used on one of Tim's websites), he made them license the name from him, after appropriating their logo (would anybody in their right mind really believe things happened the other way around?). Furthermore, Edge magazine doesn't license the word Edge from Langdell's venture any longer (even though Langdell has set up websites to make you believe the opposite - see edgemagazine.co.uk).



Even if you would prefer to assume good faith on Langdell's part and say that this Joe fellow isn't him (although the IP of "Joe" has been confirmed to belong to a Californian user), Langdell's websites are full of similar lies. Making somebody license the usage of the word "Edge" from you doesn't mean you have "spawned" the brand or product. The "Mirror's (a game from) Edge" fiasco has also already been mentioned. Langdell has also made numerous misrepresentations on his own Wikipedia article ("1971-1990, The Early Years: Forming an Industry" - as one of the headings read), but also in interviews ("Tim was effective head of Electronic Arts Europe and Sega Europe").



The fact that Langdell himself has basically stamped word "LIAR" onto his forehead doesn't really make his case here any more believable. Would you trust this man? After reading his self-composed Wikipedia entry? Or after having a look at his website, where he exclaims he is "generally regarded as one of the top five leading experts in games and interactive technology"?



1) Link to USGOV patent and trademark office registration of "Edgy" by "Edge Games" on May 16th (you may have to do a new search) - http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=doc&state=4005:cdkov1.2.9

2) Link to comments by user Mopius on TIGSource's forums - http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=6456.45

3) Link to comment by "Joe" at fingergaming - http://fingergaming.com/2009/05/28/update-edge-pulled-over-alledg
ed-trademark-infringement/

4) Link to comments by "Joe" at TIGSource's article - http://tigsource.com/articles/2009/05/29/tim-langdell-the-edge-of
-insanity

5) Link to Wikipedia article on Langdell , written by somebody using his wife's maiden name - http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.or
g%2Fw%2Findex.php%3Ftitle%3DTim_Langdell%26oldid%3D255432493&date
=2009-06-03

6) Link to interview where Langdell claims to have effectively been head of Sega Europe and EA - http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Blogs/Screens/?oid=600219

7) Link to edge studios where Langdell claims he's a top 5 game designer - http://the--edge.com/expert/

Marcus Richert
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The patent and trademark office link tells you the session has expired, if you want to see the registration with your own eyes, go to http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=search&state=4009:kbg13j.1.
1

and enter the word "Edgy". Langdell's registration is the 9th result.

Giuseppe Navarria
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This story is truly a sad episode, unluckly even a child can understand the malevolent intents of Tim Langdell and still IGDA doesn't take an official position. If on a side I can understand that's a delicate matter, on the other I think IGDA should take the distances from people that, as documented, repeatedly over the years acted in moral questionable ways.

Icing on the cake, now Langdell indeed registered the word "Edgy" after mobigames attept to rename their game.

I bet every people here, including Langdell, knows that mobigames never tried to plagiarize EDGE games or, ridiculously, the Bobby Bearing game, a Marble MadnessSpindizzy clone for Commodore64, the only product that can bear any resemblance to mobigames' one.

In this case, Langdell sounds nothing less than an extorsionist and I think I could talk for all the indie developers I know saying that, with members like Tim Langdell, IGDA is losing reputation, and is clearly not able to cover the interests of independent developers.

david Papazian
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Thanks Marcus, nice demonstration



I will add some facts, the links to the UK intellectual property office registration of MIRROR'S SPORE and SOULSPORE



http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-find/t-find-number?detailsr
equested=C&trademark=2516573



http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-find/t-find-number?detailsr
equested=C&trademark=2516575





I invite you to read the comments on TIGSource from a "neutral" witness of this story:



http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=6456.msg208324#msg208
324





David

www.mobigame.net

Stephen Jacobs
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As I said before, a board is legally constrained as to what it can and cannot do. As these actions are within the letter of the law and do not directly violate Tim's duties and responsibilities as a board member there's not much the board, as a board, can do.



On the other hand, board members serve at the pleasure of an organization's membership, as I also mentioned above. If the membership believes, as Giuseppe states above, that a board members' external actions damage the reputation and efficacy of the organization they have the power to call a special meeting and do something about it. They don't have to pove cause or actual damages, they can just call for his removal and a majority vote will accomplish that goal.



It is also not unheard of for a board member whose external actions cast an organization in a bad light to voluntarily step down

Marcus Richert
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I think stepping down would be the honorable thing for Langdell to do, yet again, doing the honorable thing doesn't seem like the thing Langdell would do, judging from his record.



The board needs to do something about people lying their way into the IGDA's board. If the presentation of Langdell on IGDA's website is the same one he presented as a nominee, it's obvious he deliberately misled voters. What IGDA needs to do to not let Langdell further soil its reputation is 1) decide to that from now on, nominees presentations of themselves should be fact-checked, 2) kick out any board member who is proven to have lied in order to get elected.



from www.igda.com/board :

"He founded EDGE Games in 1979, which in addition to the many EDGE videogames has spawned such well-known EDGE branded ventures as EDGE Magazine (published by Future), EDGE game PCs (made by Velocity Micro), EDGE-brand comics (published by Malibu/Marvel) and THE EDGE videogame controllers (made by DATEL)."



That's a direct lie, by no stretch of imagination and the definition of the word "spawn" could this be considered anything but a deliberate attempt to make people think he actually created, or caused the creation of those products. I, had I been an IGDA member, might have been inclined to vote for a guy who helped bring about the creation of Edge (a magazine I'm happy to subscribe to), but not for a guy who threatened to sue them, forced them to use the name "Next Gen" in the States, made them pay royalties to him and then, above all, stole their logo.

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Paul Eres
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Also, as someone mentioned in the TIGSource forums, if David's account of the behavior if Tim towards David is true, it's actually Tim who is breaking the law -- threats, fraud, and extortion. The behavior described goes beyond merely challenging a trademark violation.



If a board removal meeting is called I'd also recommend the removal of the "game attorney" Tom Buscaglia for his crass insults towards indie developers and support of Langdell -- as an indie developer I'll not be a member of the IGDA while either of those two is on the board, considering their treatment of and stated attitudes towards indie developers.

Stephen Jacobs
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Tim's candidacy statement can be found here: http://www.igda.org/board/elections.php

It links to a bios here: http://www.timlangdell.com/



Whether either of these contains false statements is not clear, though I'm willing to bet some of you will take exception to his 3rd goal as a board member "Advocate equally for everyone in the game industry from indie developers to AAA studios."



Marcus and Martin you bring up valid points about potential misrepresentation on the board page and its potential for a removal for cause by the board. This goes beyond the Board's original statement of needing to stay out of a trademark dispute which was, and still is, the appropriate thing for them to do.



In light of what has been posted here in the past few days, I would encourage the board to take a look at it.

Brian Beuken
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@ Paul

Tom has frequently shown himself to be crass and abusive towards people, usually under the "I'm speaking for myself" disclaimer, but also from time to time on the IGDA forum.



Frankly though, we're all wasting our time, Tom is the only attorney they have, so they need him...which makes him bullet proof, despite his pretty much proven incompetency while dealing with QoL issues. Tim, is an "elected" member and can do what he likes so long as not using his IGDA director title, including is odious semi legal extortion racket. Oh and is also "needed" to do some web tech work.



IGDA is sick at its heart and no one seems willing or able to actually deal with the problem.

Tim Langdell
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1. I have not made any false statements about my or EDGE Games' accomplishments. There is no evidence that I have, only mean-spirited speculation that I have.



2. At the start of this dispute in April EDGE Games made a very reasonable proposal to David that would have meant his game would have been given a new name and had virtually no interruption to its sales on the App Stores; none of EDGE's proposals have asked any money of Mobigame. David refused to rename the game at that point and (as confirmed by his colleague elsewhere) decided instead to voluntarily remove the game himself "without recognizing Tim's company any rights" (David's words above) while he thought about whether he could devise a way to keep using the name EDGE despite EDGE Games owning the registered trademark. That was his decision and it is grossly unfair to twist that to make EDGE Games or me look bad because he made it.



3. EDGE has made several offers to David all of which were reasonable, none of which asked for money, and all of which he rejected. He has only made two proposals to EDGE both of which involved EDGE Games being required to license the right to use the mark EDGE in Europe from Mobigame and pay Mobigame for the privilege, which, given our decades of use of the mark EDGE in Europe, we understandably rejected. David has refused to make any other proposal to us even though we have repeatedly invited him to do so. Today EDGE made yet another offer to David, similar to the one EDGE made in April, and I personally hope that he will this time acknowledge EDGE Game's registered trademarks, stop trying to publicly embarrass me or the company into permitting him to use EDGE's registered mark, and at last rename the game so that it can continue selling.



4. Asking an indie developer/self-publisher to rename their game because it infringes registered trademark rights is not a failure to advocate for indie developers. That is twisting of this matter in an exceptionally unfair way. EDGE Games had to ask David to change the name of his game else risk losing its almost 30-year rights in the mark EDGE. I am incredibly sorry David made the mistake of not bothering to check the trademark registers before he selected the name for his game, the more so given he is clearly a very talented individual and produced an award winning game. But please do not twist the actions EDGE Games was compelled to take to protect its trademark rights into me personally not advocating for the indie developer. EDGE Games is also an indie developer and I remain very committed to advocate equally for everyone in the game industry. However, that advocacy does not and should not extend to supporting or encouraging any developer's infringement of registered trademark rights.



Just because I am on the Board of the IGDA does not make this an IGDA matter. It is a trademark dispute between two companies that should be worked out between the two companies. David, please stop debating this in public and instead respond to EDGE's emails and let's get this resolved.

Brian Beuken
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Care to explain your registration of EDGY after Mobigames had suggested they rename their game?

Max Shea
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David Papazian, I have the highest respect for you and your colleagues. You have done an incredible job as a game developer and you should be extremely proud. I'm also very glad that you are not allowing this schoolyard bully with marginal ability in legalese rhetoric to push you around.



For those taken in by Langdell's manipulative phrasing and sociopathic twisting of words, you have my deepest sympathies, for you will also very likely be impoverished by a mysterious Nigerian chap. It is an incredible shame that a talentless asshat whose only glory in life might have been an exceedingly short and nodding acquaintance with relevance in the game industry has risen so very, very far beyond his level of incompetence.

Marcus Richert
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Mr. Langdell, could you please explain in what way it is fair to say you spawned Edge magazine, or indeed any of the other products you claimed to have spawned?

Paul Eres
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Tim, I think asking him to rename the game is reasonable. However, he offered to rename the game EDGY, and you reportedly refused that and registered that trademark as well. If you really were after an amicable end to it and not extortion, why would you have done that?

Adam Saltsman
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"I have not made any false statements about my or EDGE Games' accomplishments. There is no evidence that I have, only mean-spirited speculation that I have."



Tim, given the drastic desparity between the evidence (26 games) and the claim that you have personally produced over 400 games ("several hundred" - several is defined as 4+ in most English dictionaries), I believe that the burden of proof is on you, not the "mean-spirited" speculators.



Some questions that still have no answers:







Why did you suddenly pull your EDGE-branded space travel website, with quotes from advisor Buzz Aldrin?



Has EDGE produced or published any video games since 1994?



What possible confusion could the game "Soul Edge" have caused? Surely "MIRROR'S EDGE" is just as confusing?



Why are you marketing your new game project as "MIRROR'S EDGE"?







Given David's claim that you are currently legally entangled with EA, I'm very interested in finding out about the last two questions in particular.

C M Williams
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Can EDGE games to allow Mobigames to use the word Edge in their iPhone game? An honest answer to this question should clear things up.



If it is truly the case that the consequences of allowing them to use the word Edge significantly and negatively impacts EDGE games, then I completely understand EDGE games situation(They must act).



But, if the consequences are of little to no impact to EDGE games, then I am naturally inclined to view this situation as bullying.



Tim, you mentioned potentially losing your 30 year mark. I can totally see this as a cause for you to behave in the way you are. But the way you have things stated above is somewhat hazy.



Is the following statement true:

If EDGE games allows Mobigames to use the word "edge", then EDGE games will lose their 30 year mark.

david Papazian
profile image
sorry Tim, but i have to answer here, be sure i respect you, but I can not let you lie and quote my name this way.



1. no of course Tim created EA and Sega Europe, he created the famous magazine EDGE. He worked on a game called Mirror's Edge for 5 years. He made a movie with Antony Hopkins. He made a comics for Marvel. He has been credited in more than 200 games and the developers of those games love him. He founded a space agency with Buzz Aldrin. And soon he will tell us he was working on a game called EDGY for 30 years.



2. he asked money, as my "colleague" confirm on TIGSource



3. Tim offered to licence the trademark for money at first, but he changes his mind so often it is hard to follow him. Sometimes you talk to Joe the agressive one, sometimes to Tim the friendly one. We offered to rename the game to EDGY for the U.S, what he refused (after that he tried to sell us a free licence for EDGY after registrating it by the way) and later we offered a free co-existence deal for Europe and the U.S, what he refused



4. what is the point? we registered the trademark EDGE in July 2008. just to avoid any trouble with people like you. We won our first award in September 2008. we presented the game to the IGDA in november 2008. the game was released in december 2008, an so on. why did you wait until April 2009 to contact us? You waited because you knew it would be harder for us to change the name, and it would be easier to pay you, or to get a licence from you to help you to grow your little business.



I do not want to make any public comment Tim, but I have to answer to your lies.

Why don't you stop to publicly embarrass yourself and break the law by the same way?



@C M Williams: the end of the point 4 should answer to your question.

Tim Langdell
profile image
You did not register the trademark EDGE in either the US or UK. Your attempt to register the mark in either of those territories would fail since EDGE owns registered trademarks in both those territories and has priority of rights. With respect, you should have considered the state of the US and UK trademark registers before naming your game. To now seek to blame EDGE for your failure to properly check for prior registered rights is unfair. EDGE first became aware of your game named EDGE in April and promptly contacted you the moment the issue was brought to its attention.

Greg Wohlwend
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I'll ask again...



Tim, why did you Trademark EDGY on May 16th of 2009?

Brian Beuken
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No one is really disputing the fact you own the trademark. In that respect David made an error, one that could easily be rectified but you attempted to prevent that too by registering EDGY...not the act of someone trying to make reasonable proposals?



Its your actions in "defending" it which are questionable and distasteful in most peoples eyes. The TM laws exist to prevent people from cashing in on your goodwill and reputation of your mark. In cases where hearings have taken place (public record so please do not deny) no evidence of your goodwill or reputation being damaged have ever been recorded.



Its one thing to defend a trademark which you own, its quite another to use that trademark to lay claim to the income of others. Care to name any defense of your trademark which have been successful in a hearing? You seem to prefer to threaten legal action to force a settlement rather than risk actual legal action.



Btw you still have not answered any of the revealing questions which could clear or condem you?

Adam Saltsman
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Tim, it seems like the kind of confusion or misunderstanding that could be cleared up very easily.







It seems like if you worked on 400 games you could name at least one of them?



It seems like if you are such an important part of the game development community that anybody would have heard of you before a week ago?



It seems like you registered EDGY in order to continue to harass Mobigames?



It seems like you lied your way into an IGDA board director post as a way to further legitimize your non-existent company in exactly these sorts of gray-area legal situations?







It seems like you won't answer any of these straightforward questions because you don't HAVE an answer that could possibly exonerate you?

Gary Liddon
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Man, loads of people queuing up to argue with Tim! It's just like being at a Commodore show in the 80's!

Stephen Jacobs
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Hey Gary, you just triggered some incredible flashbacks! I was one of the three guys who ran the independent Amiga shows, "AmiEXPO" at the end of the 80s :-)

Brandon McCartin
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I thought he meant The Commodores. :|

Giuseppe Navarria
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Thank you for your kind and precise replies Stephen, I really hope IGDA members will call a special meeting and do something about this situation as having Tim Langdell aboard, directly or not, is surely hurting IGDA credibility.



Just searching around his sites you can discover pearls like:

"Some of our partners:

Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, LG, Sharp, Samsung, Vodaphone, AT&T, O2, Orange"

Alluding to the fact he helped in "spawning" the EDGE (Enhanced Data GSM Environment) high- speed mobile data technology.

This stuff is good for a laugh when you don't know this mister is inside respecful organizations like IGDA.

I really think such thing couldn't be tollerated, as the game biz seems to be way smaller than it is.



Finally, being an indie developer myself I feel sorry for David and I suggest him to rename the game in something like "Project-Edge", "Edgemony", "Edg3!" or something... ops Tim, now you have three more trademarks to register tomorrow.

Mickey Blumental
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Question for David... Why do you RESPECT Tim? I don't think he earned any respect with any of his actions.



Tim, I want to know why you're not going after the big guns. What about Mirror's Edge? From what I read it seems to me that you're going after the small fish knowing most of them will roll over and give up to your bullying to avoid an expensive legal battle.



And being an IGDA board member does make it an IGDA matter if they don't kick you off it.

Marcus Richert
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There's no point in bothering. To the questions Langdell refuses to respond - we already know the answers. We know there's no way Langdell could respond to these without losing face. Let's just e-mail the other board members and let them know what's going on at their own website.

david Papazian
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@Tim

on July 11th 2008 your company had no registered trademark EDGE in the U.S, it was still in the opposition process since 1996, and you were not using it in the U.K for a very long time (what could be say for the U.S too anyway, and there is no other video game called simply EDGE except our game). But today you have a registered trademark in both countries that you still do not use. I must admit that. You also registered the trademark SOUL EDGE, EDGY, MIRRORS SPORE, SOUL SPORE and many more... with your different companies Edge Games and Edge Interactive. so yes, you have a bigger collection of trademarks than me



the registration process for our trademark is going on, and it is not to you to decide

note the priority date on July 11th 2008, when we started the procedure in France:



U.K: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/madridEU?madridEUnum=U00000998834

U.S: http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4009:8aohp.2.1



Tim, I will not answer to all your comments about me or Mobigame anymore, you will agree this is not the right place for that. but I encourage you to answer to the questions where Mobigame is not concerned apparently, like Adam suggested.



if someone wants to contact us for any reason you can find an alias to my email adress at the bottom of our website, we usually answer to everyone with pleasure.





David

www.mobigame.net

Jim Blackler
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Tim, why did you Trademark EDGY on May 16th 2009?

Giuseppe Navarria
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Also why there's a confusing flash animation on your site saying MIRRORS EDGE (with a tiny "a game from")? Why you registered trademarks such MIRRORS SPORE or SOUL SPORE? Why is totally impossible to buy ANY of your beloved 200+ games from Edge Games?

Breaking news: Future Publishing's legal department is currently looking at this story.

Paul Eres
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"Man, loads of people queuing up to argue with Tim!"



That's kind of what happens when behave like he has towards an indie developer -- there's a strong sense of community among us.

Brian Beuken
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Tim?



Tim?



Tim?



Tim?

Craig Stern
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Tim, I do not care for the snide tone of your response. Allow me to educate you. Litigation is merely a term for a legal dispute resolution process before a tribunal. Many court cases involve hearings as well--this does not mean that they are not examples of litigation. Nor are parties in litigation typically barred from proceeding pro se--in other words, you do not have to have a lawyer to engage in litigation.



Additionally, I don't believe that the law requires you to oppose other peoples' applications for trademark registration. As the first person to register your trademarks, you have priority, no matter how many misguided people try to register after you. The worst case scenario is that others will be lined up to use the mark if you lose it due to abandonment, but I suspect that that would happen anyway.



It is true that it can weaken your trademark (for purposes of factor 1 in the Polaroid/Sleekcraft analysis) if numerous third parties share it, but given that hardly anybody knows of your game company to begin with, I suspect that this won't really make much of a difference to you in litigation--especially since you supposedly never engage in it.

Mickey Blumental
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The Mirrors Edge thing on the website seems like a bait. He wants EA to come after him and then he'll be able to turn it around pointing out that it's them using his trademark. I suspect they just don't give a crap.



If it's really about a game called Mirrors from Edge games then someone might to inform Fox's legal department. :D

Max Shea
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I believe someone did inform EA about Tim's Mirror's Edge. Tim changed his website some time after 05/08/09. Prior to that date, the text reading "a new game from" was considerably smaller and semi-transparent so that the only thing that was clearly legible was "Mirror's Edge". You can clearly see the "a new game from" now. Of course, EA probably doesn't care because they know that in order to ship a game, you have to actually develop it - something Tim hasn't done in at least 15 years.

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Stephen Jacobs
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Hi Martin,



Quick note. As I mentioned before, trademark dispute is something the board cannot get involved in, it's not a case of circling the wagons. As to misrepresentation, That's something they can look into and they are aware of the comments here.

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Stephen Jacobs
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Hey Martin,



As to things being off the cards or not, I do know that other boards I've been on have had to walk a very thin line very carefully when it comes to things like this. They often cannot comment on issues like this until they land in, or have passed through the courts. There are certainly items that have been brought up here, and elsewhere on the web, that might be useful, or even valid proof of EDGE crossing the line, but the court of opinion is not a real court.



If I were the judge in the court of opinion, Mobi would lose on not having checked for the trademark in the first place and EDGE would lose for the way they've chosen to defend and extend their trademark. A Lose-Lose for everyone.



While we've discussed what IGDA can and shouldn't do here has been important, illuminating and valuable I find it more instructive who we're not hearing from. In the complex legal world we live in, silence doesn't always mean folks are afraid to talk. It often means they're in preparation. This has been in open discussion for a week. An eternity in net time and a blink of an eye in legal time :-)



I have mentioned before that the IGDA is the membership, not the board, and there is a process for a member calling for removal without cause, something that the board itself cannot do. I have considered doing so myself and in the end have decided against doing so. I have made this decision not for fear of any legal consequences, there are none. That's why the by-laws specify that an individual may move forward without having cause, to protect individual members and allow them to act freely.



I have chosen not to move forward for the following reasons...



1. I know some of the board personally and believe that if what we've discussed in these past few days were something they could take action on and be successful, they would do so. While an individual member could move this forward it would likely consume so much of the IGDA's limited resources it would end up doing more harm than good.



2. I believe this pattern of overzealous trademark defense has gotten large enough that if it is actionable, action will be taken by the folks who have been directly affected, those folks including EA, Future Publishing, Think Services and others, not just Mobi. Where one may have acted expediently a group is likely to move forward. If this does happen it is likely IGDA will have a much clearer path.



I am a member of the board of a local newspaper and am about to become one for my Temple. I have previously been a board member of the local chapter of the national Hillel foundation. I have sat and currently sit on corporate boards.



If were at the center of a controversy that was problematic for any of these boards, even if I felt I was in the right within that controversy, I would take a leave of absence from the board until such time as it had been resolved so that the organization could move forward. I urge Tim to consider doing the same.



As for our discussions here, I suggest they move over to the IGDA forums, where the topic is also active, so what you all wish to continue to discuss happens closer to center of the issue. The link to do so is here.



Thanks to all of you for your concerns and your passion and the time you've invested here to discuss the issue.

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Stephen Jacobs
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Actually, when you consider that Simon's article was pulled, I'm guessing the IGDA Forum's might be less likely to be altered :-)

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An Dang
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I wish I'd read this before going to E3--definitely would have been something to discuss.



And in my unprofessional (for now) opinion, Langdell is threatening litigation in bad faith to protect a trademark he is not actively using. Looks to be quite a dirty trick.

An Dang
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Well, I guess I should reserve judgment until more facts are presented.



But if Langdell's EDGE Games doesn't do anything aside from announcing games that are never going to be made (with the true purpose of simply maintaining the trademark rights in order to rake in licensing fees when people use the very simple word, "edge"), then that's really not cool. It goes against the intent of the law, and really should be considered against public policy.

Stephen Jacobs
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Martin, ask Simon :-)

An, hit that IGDA forum link for more.

SJ

Alex Whiteside
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I've been compelled to register to clear up some schoolboy-level misunderstandings of trademark law that are being propagated here. As a disclaimer, my own background in IP law is only as much as I've picked up on mandatory training (to ensure we don't cause a legal fiasco in our jobs) and has more to do with patents, which are a much more cut-and-dry field.



The idea that someone can "register" a patent and then anyone who uses it is "infringing" is a common fallacy that comes from confusing trademark law and patent law. Trademark registration is simply a way of publishing your trademark so that others can avoid infringing upon it and provides no additional legal protection. If anything, it is for the legal benefit of others, who can avoid wasting money developing what turns out to be someone else's distinctive mark. All trademarks, registered and unregistered, whether they have that little "TM" sign or not, are equally protected.



Trademark "infringment" is a civil offense that's decided on a "reasonable" basis. Essentially, someone infringes on your trademark if their actions can be reasonably expected to lead to confusion between themselves and your business/products/whatever in practice. For example, if I release a product called "Coca Cola", then obviously that will confuse any reasonable customer into believing that it's made by the Coca Cola Company. You could argue that the product is a cheeseburger and not a soda, but that probably won't fly because the "Coca Cola" name itself is so tightly bound to the Coca Cola Company in the public consciousness. I would obviously be trading off Coca-Cola's reputation as a business.



However, suppose that tomorrow a children's book company decided to call itself "Caterpillar", with a cute little green caterpillar as the logo. That word is the trademark for a hugely successful and well-known brand of hydraulic equipment, and a great deal of licenced merchandise tying into that image. However it's extremely unlikely that any reasonable individual would confuse the two companies. The word "Caterpillar" is not distinctive enough, and not unique enough, for that confusion to arise when the two companies are in entirely different lines of business. Therefore that would not constitute an infringement.



As another example, suppose you have a company called "Venice Blinds" that produces blinds to be sold under store own-brands. Another company calling itself "Venice", and producing blinds, would likely be confused with the original by buyers for retail chains, and therefore that trademark would have been infringed upon. However a blinds company called "Spiffy Blinds" could put out a set of Venetian blinds called "Memories of Venice" direct to the consumer. Given that nobody in consumerland is aware that "Venice Blinds" exists, there's no risk of customer confusion. If "Venice Blinds" was a household name, it might be that a reasonable person would belive that "Memories of Venice" was somehow derived from Venice Blinds' product range, and we're back to infringement.



As you can see, trademark law is very context-sensitive, and it is very much based upon the public awareness of the mark. Trademark law is engineered to ensure business cannot trade off each other's reputations. It's not like patent law, or a registered design, where someone is given an exclusive right to something in exchange for registration.



We have a special case here in that EDGE Games' web-site attempts to present Langdell's licencees' products as his own, and therefore he is acting contrary to his obligation, as a trademark holder, to protect his mark's distinctiveness. If Edge is his trademark, he is obligated to ensure that people know that those products were not actually his. In fact he is doing the opposite, and therefore his trademark is diluted. This would not lead to a very positive outcome if he was attempting to defend the mark in court: defendants could argue that his claim was in bad faith.



To exacerbate matters, he uses the distinctive marks of EDGE Magazine as his own logo and a huge amount of former EDGE Magazine website content (much of which still links back to www.edge-online.co.uk) for his own business, which means that in all likelihood he's infringing on Future Publishing's trademarks in the form of the distinctive EDGE Magazine "E" symbol, which is much more strongly linked with that magazine than it is with EDGE Games.



Mr. Langdell has no reason for accusing the Edge iPhone game of "copyright infringement", as some sites have reported, which is an entirely different tort. I suspect mistranslation somewhere.

Alex Whiteside
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I can confirm what someone mentioned above: when asked about Edge Games' use of Edge Magazine assets, Edge staff state that Future Publishing's legal department is looking into the issue, but they have no comment at this time.

Alex Whiteside
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D'oh, the first sentence of my long post should be "the idea that anyone can "register" a trademark". Should be obvious from the context, but still. Can a mod edit that?

Alex Whiteside
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Having read the thread in its entirely, it is clear that Tim Langdell is the one who needs to hire a trademark attorney. A "priority right" is not some unique and solitary right to use a trademark that holds while the trademark is registered. It is the period of exclusivity granted to the registrant in other juristictions to allow them to register their intellectual property without being "scooped". For example, if I registered a magic toaster in the UK, I would gain a priority right to register that in other patent juristictions.



This is important in juristictions where "first to patent" is used instead of "first to invent", and somebody can patent your idea and gain the exclusive right to that idea for the duration of the patent. However it is of limited utility in trademark registrations, given that trademarks do not carry an exclusive right to use the trademark.

Alex Whiteside
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I should add, the priority right never lasts for more than one year.

Brian Beuken
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Alex

thank you for such insightful comments, very interesting reading.



Tim?





Tim?

Dean Roskell
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Why don't Mobigames put Edge back on sale and just ignore Tim? What's he going to do?

Kain Shin
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Tim Langdell, if you are reading this, please shield the IGDA from the controversy surrounding your beliefs and RESIGN from the Board of the IGDA. If you have any sense of decency about you, then you would do this to spare the organization from the bad publicity you are bringing. The IGDA's reputation has enough to sort through as it is without your "help".



People are associating your actions with the IGDA because of your position on this advocacy organization.

WHETHER YOU ACCEPT IT OR NOT, IT IS AFFECTING US.



Resigning from the IGDA's board is the right thing to do, Tim. Either resign or save grace by rescinding the malicious patent that your company holds on your behalf as a source of profit. Or name some games that you have actually worked on that prove you are an actual game developer who makes games for consumers and not some parasitic self-promoting predator who preys on the creative endeavors of other developers.

Brian Beuken
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Tim?



How come you won't answer the simplest of questions?



Tim?



Why, did you register EDGY?



Tim?



It would be good to get an answer?



You won't answer though will you....such a shame? But the fact is you really have been running an shady little extortion racket for years which has relied heavily on people not really understanding the limitations of TM and you bulling them into settling with you to avoid hassles.



Frankly I don't care how "legal" these action are, it sucks, and you should be deeply ashamed of yourself.



Now the issue of this not being an IGDA matter is simple...you ran for the board claiming to put developers interests 1st and you haven't.



It's probably fair to say the board is too risk adverse to take any kind of action to remove you, and member apathy is such that it'll be almost impossible to raise the required 10% vote to call for your removal, but regardless you have been called out as a dishonorable person who should not be representing IGDA and that stain will remain with you.



Do the decent thing and resign and return to the shadows where people who practice your brand of corporate blackmail are best suited.

Romain Gauthier
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Tim ?



Answer ther questions Tim, as clearly and unambigously as possible, or RESIGN.

Adam Saltsman
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The EDGE games website was updated recently with a list of 756 games that EDGE has... created I guess? The site doesn't actually explain what EDGE had to do with any of them. Anyways, the list itself consists of every game that I guess EDGE was ever involved with, but the site individually lists EVERY SINGLE LOCALIZATION AND PLATFORM AS A SEPARATE GAME. For example, Bobby Bearing is in the list 20-30 times. I browsed the list tonight and put together some basic stats.



NOTE: This is based on the list of games that EDGE themselves claim to have spawned or created or whatever it is that they do there.



Total games that Tim claimed to have worked on: 400+

Total games listed on the EDGE website: 756

Actual number of games listed (after culling language and platform relistings): 107

Number of games in list not yet released: 4 (+ 1 game that is just invented - "Racers")

Number of actual games listed: 102

Average number of actual games per website claims: 0.135

Average number of actual games versus Tim's claims: 0.255 or less

Number of games released on hardware that debuted later than 1986: 6

Quantity of post 1986-hardware games that are for mobile phones only: 5



Of course, there are some non-games in the list as well, such as compilers for the ZX Spectrum, etc.



According to EDGE's own website, this company's greatest claim to fame is that they published almost 100 games on hardware that debuted before or during 1986.



This is NOT a trademark that is in active use. Tim's claims against Mobigames are ridiculous.

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Robert Fearon
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I've broken it down a bit further in this google doc, probably not as digestible as Adam's stats but a handy reference. Wherever I've been able to verify something, it's included as published (even if it's only a press release from say, 4 years ago). Where I've not been able to come up with anything, I've listed it in naughty pink.



I've not counted the Anco/Anirog/Cascade titles as I'm not sure what relationship we're discussing here. As far as I'm aware, and I may be wrong - the titles I've listed in blue were originally published by the referenced companies. I'm guessing from Tim's list that they're reissues and have labelled them as such in lieu of any evidence to the contrary.



There's some stuff I know Edge published (well, Softek) but as Tim didn't deign to list it, I've not included it here either. I don't think the one or two utility things tucked in my memory banks from around 1983/84 would exactly tip the scales in any particular direction.



http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfnb2s7p_1cmhxprcp



It's clear that the vast majority of this stuff is (being generous) prior to 1995. In many cases, we're talking very early 80's for a good sizeable chunk too.



It's not exhaustive, but it's certainly from my few hours of research, not seemingly that wide of the mark.

Boon Cotter
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I like the fact that Tim has consistently ignored questions regarding "MIRRORS a game by EDGE". It's a little hard to put the spin on that, I guess.



Perhaps he'd like to explain why he went ahead and registered a Trademark for "Edge of Twilight"?



The guy is full of embarrassingly transparent strawman arguments. It's like watching a bad comedian die on stage.

Dominic Arsenault
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Regarding the claims of 300 'pretended' games VS 26 'actual' games by EDGE, I'd just like to point out that Tim has never spoken of "hundreds of games" but has always been careful to speak of "hundreds of game SKUs". The devil's in the details. I suppose there's a form of under-handed manipulation to be done so as to substantially increase the number of SKUs for a single game/product and artificially inflate the headcount, but I don't know enough about this, nor am I interested in spending time doing so.

Tahir Rashid
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I have to disagree with the amount of titles!



If this was the case then my CV/Resume would be a lot bigger considering I was one of the original Edge developers creating 4-5 games for them whilst I worked in the London office from the period of 1987-1989.



That would read like 50 games according to Edge Games website!



Sorry we did those amount of games, even in re-releases, only one game followed after I left and that was The Punisher on 16-bit home computers.



I am very familiar with all the titles published even those on the budget labels.



Don’t recall anything else being released after that period they may have been developed but as I say they left for America and that was the last I had heard of them until now!

Tahir Rashid
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Sorry typo -



The Edge did NOT publish/develop those amount of games, even in re-releases, only one game followed after I left and that was The Punisher on 16-bit home computers.



Most of if not all of those games were recycled all the way down to the budget label.



All of the labels used at the time -



Softek

The Edge

RAD

ACE

The Micro Selection



Maybe there was one more label called The Micro Selection Gold/Platinum???



Tim or Cheri will remember what it was called?

Tahir Rashid
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Also while we are on the subject Tim if you are still answering some questions?



I would like to know what this means and I quote from EDGE GAMES website -



“EDGE is compiling a credits list of all programmers, artists and musicians who have worked on our games, they will too of course be credited on an SKU basis as is usual”



Firstly I DO NOT want my name associated with EDGE GAMES or displayed on your website either in print or any other form.



I hope that you respect my wishes.



Tahir


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