Tim Langdell: Trademark Troll?
October 3, 2009 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Tim Langdell started Edge games in Pasadena in 1990. The studio has produced no games, and has instead made a name for itself as a trademark troll: it attempts to sue almost anyone (flickr) who dares to use the word "edge" in their titles. Recently, the tables have turned, when Electronic Arts asked the United States to cancel all trademarks associated with Langdell, after Langdell attempted to claim copyright for the title Mirror's Edge.

On his official website, Langdell also claims that Edge games was responsible for the UK games magazine Edge; as well as comic book Edge, 1997 movie The Edge, and - bizarrely - the TV series Teenage Wasteland. Much more on the fascinating cretin here and here.
posted by hnnrs (55 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I half expected him to claim responsibility for U2's guitarist.
posted by nathan_teske at 11:36 AM on October 3, 2009 [16 favorites]


I applaud the use of cretin here most gloriously.
posted by Bageena at 11:39 AM on October 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm trademarking all the letter Es on the internet. Pay up or learn to post in this way.
posted by The Whelk at 11:39 AM on October 3, 2009


That's some good trollin', Lou.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:40 AM on October 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Langdell should go to work for Monster Cable.
posted by hippybear at 11:41 AM on October 3, 2009


The best story I've seen on this guy is this one from Eurogamer, which deals both with the Langdell's questionable history and his ongoing feud with Mobigames, creators of the iPhone game Edge*. Mobigames has been absolutely fucked over by Langdell, which sucks because I think their game is, bar none, the best iPhone game to date. Everyone should go out and by it right now.

*Mentioned in one of the links, but I think it deserves a special callout.
posted by martens at 12:07 PM on October 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


We could have used this guy to keep the Bridget Jones sequel from coming out.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:17 PM on October 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


What a complete sleazebag that guy is.
posted by empath at 12:21 PM on October 3, 2009


Mirror's edge is a fantastic game. I hope that ea is making a fuss because the sequel is coming out soon.
posted by kylej at 12:29 PM on October 3, 2009


@martens: Damnit! I missed that link, it's probably better than all mine put together!

@kylej: It is indeed. It's probably better than all Time Langdell's put together.
posted by hnnrs at 12:30 PM on October 3, 2009


Something had happened. A thing which, years ago, had been the eagerest hope of many, many good citizens of the town, and now it had come at last; Tim Langdell had got his comeuppance.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:32 PM on October 3, 2009


Heh. Twat.
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on October 3, 2009


If this guy were an animal, he'd be a lamprey.
posted by you just lost the game at 12:35 PM on October 3, 2009


Mirror's edge is a fantastic game. I hope that ea is making a fuss because the sequel is coming out soon.

It is indeed. It's probably better than all Time Langdell's put together.


This is not really fair though, 'cause it's got an advantage over his games by the fact that it exists.
posted by dubitable at 12:43 PM on October 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


After a brief look at the website, I have one small comment: I'm not sure that releasing a particular game allows you to say that every version of the game where you released it in a different language counts as an entirely new game.

And I don't think he counts as a lamprey. He's some bowel-dwelling parasite.
posted by mephron at 12:49 PM on October 3, 2009


I applaud the use of cretin here most gloriously.

The Ramones attorney is on line two and wants to speak to you about this joke...
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:53 PM on October 3, 2009


So... Bobby Bearing - that's basically a Marble Madness/Spindizzy rip off, isn't it?
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on October 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Has he sued U2 yet?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:07 PM on October 3, 2009


You know, I really should read the whole thread before posting... well the first comment at least.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:08 PM on October 3, 2009


That's a magnificent comment there, Joe.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:09 PM on October 3, 2009


I am amused by Langdell's argument that EA is a bad guy, therefore he must be the good guy.

IP bullies make me so mad. I'm not usually sympathetic to EA, and their attempt to portray themselves as looking after other smaller developers here is not at all convincing, but I still hope this goes very badly for Langdell.

I wish the IP system (patent, trademark, copyright) had some stronger measures to discourage this kind of behavior; The risk that you lose your trademark that has no legitimate value is hardly much of a disincentive.
posted by aubilenon at 1:20 PM on October 3, 2009


I wonder if he would sue if I named my game Tim Langdel Can Suck My Balls. Because I would take him to court and say it was a different Tim, a fictional one that spells his name with one 'L'. Then I'd punch him in the dick.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:49 PM on October 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


Goddammit.

Codswallop Games' Somerset Maugham-themed "Razor's Edge: The Game" is due to ship next Thursday.
posted by codswallop at 2:07 PM on October 3, 2009


Reading through the blog ChaosEdge is pretty enlighting to how much of cock Langdell is. The funny thing is this guy is trying to say they came up with a game they were going to release a year before EA announced Mirror's Edge. Good luck with that one.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:32 PM on October 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wish the IP system (patent, trademark, copyright) had some stronger measures to discourage this kind of behavior; The risk that you lose your trademark that has no legitimate value is hardly much of a disincentive.

I gather from the article that suing people is the only business he's been engaged in for about two decades, so losing his trademark is losing his golden goose. Sort of like how it ended for SCO (though they are still around, barely), except he's kept it going much longer than they did.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:34 PM on October 3, 2009


The law is a ass.
posted by chinston at 2:37 PM on October 3, 2009


About U2: There was supposed to be a U2 Guitar Hero game that somehow never came out. People have speculated that was because U2 doesn't have many big guitar solos, which doesn't sound right to me. I wonder if the jokesters posting about Langdell/The Edge might not be right. Guitar Hero is made by Activision.
posted by CCBC at 2:37 PM on October 3, 2009


Goddammit.

Eric N. & Rakim Media's 'The Edge of Darkness: The Game' is due to ship next Friday.
posted by ericb at 2:57 PM on October 3, 2009


Err ... 'Eric B. ... goddammit.
posted by ericb at 2:57 PM on October 3, 2009


Incidentally, several people have posted in various forums that Langdell sued U2/The Edge in 1993, but a UK court dismissed the suit. I have not been able to verify this.
posted by CCBC at 3:04 PM on October 3, 2009


People have speculated that was because U2 doesn't have many big guitar solos, which doesn't sound right to me.

It's probably because Edge's guitar solos involve playing the same 2-3 notes over and over again with a lot of Brian Eno effects added on top of that.

*spoken as a true U2 fan who isn't blind to their weaknesses*
posted by hippybear at 3:09 PM on October 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Mobigames has been absolutely fucked over by Langdell, which sucks because I think their game is, bar none, the best iPhone game to date. Everyone should go out and by it right now.

They should indeed. Though, if I recall correctly, Apple have pulled it from the App Store because of Langdell's complaints.

I hope Langdell ends up sleeping rough under the same bridge as the guy who tried to trademark the words "Stealth" and "Chutzpah".
posted by acb at 3:24 PM on October 3, 2009


This is not really fair though, 'cause it's got an advantage over his games by the fact that it exists.
posted by dubitable at 12:43 PM on October 3


Couldn't one call that having an...

Edge?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:56 PM on October 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


I concur with the commenter in the Eurogamer forum thread who hopes Mobigames renames it "Edge Edgingtons Edgy Edgeventures on the Edge of Edginess."
posted by gamera at 3:58 PM on October 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


Argh. Forum thread here.
posted by gamera at 3:59 PM on October 3, 2009


Couldn't one call that having an...

Edge?


Sure, if you wanna get sued.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:29 PM on October 3, 2009


I wonder if Langdell will be bold enough to sue over the game "Cisco Edge Quest 2" that's currently on the iTunes Store. The authors of that game might know some lawyers.
posted by jamaro at 5:33 PM on October 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I gather from the article that suing people is the only business he's been engaged in for about two decades, so losing his trademark is losing his golden goose. Sort of like how it ended for SCO (though they are still around, barely), except he's kept it going much longer than they did.

Right, so after making money off this for over a decade they might have to find another job. That IS a lot less attractive than doing real work!
posted by aubilenon at 6:42 PM on October 3, 2009


Because he's a trademark Troll, a troll of trademarks, GET IT!!!! *glares menacingly*
posted by Severian at 6:56 PM on October 3, 2009


OK, the ChaosEdge blog is all sorts of awesome. EA's petition states that the trademarks protecting "Edge" have been abandoned as Tim Langdell's company Edge Interactive hasn't released a game in some time. Edge Interactive claims to be a viable concern, with a new title dropped as recently as September 9th of this year.

ChaosEdge went ahead and coughed up the dough [scroll down to the first mention of RACERS] to order this exciting new Edge Interactive game, which is only available via the Edge Interactive online store. They preordered the game and noticed their invoice was numbered 1001, which is the default number given to the first order by the particular ecommerce package used by the Edge Interactive site. They tried to buy a second copy a day after the official ship date, got an invoice numbered 1002 and the message that the game was sold out. That would be completely sold out between orders number 1 and 2. A game no one has received copies of or reviewed.

Trademark troll is trolly.
posted by jamaro at 8:20 PM on October 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


Am I the only one who kind of admires this guy? I mean, he stumbled into something that means he can earn gobs of cash without having to do anything. That's pretty much my life-long dream. It's kind of sleazy, but he's just exploiting the law, not impoverished workers in China or something like that.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:23 PM on October 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who kind of admires this guy?

Hopefully.
posted by inigo2 at 9:27 PM on October 3, 2009 [10 favorites]


Just got the Edge iPhone game. For once there's something I can get in Canada that I can't get in the US! Besides socialized medicine and all that.
posted by pravit at 10:08 PM on October 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


but he's just exploiting the law

No, he's not. He's using the law to exploit others hard work. Fuck him and anybody who thinks this is a good way to go about making money.
I've been ripped off before by con men and hucksters. I either blamed my own stupidity or at least appreciated the 'work' that went into the con. Not that I'm excusing that type of behavior as compared to what Langdell is doing, but like I said at least they were putting in a bit of work. Langdell has all of Jack and shit. Diddly and squat. He's got naught, nada, null, aught, zip, zero, zilch...bupkis. He's got the name of his company and whiny threats. Seriously, read the blog. I don't know this guy from Adam, and he might be a freaking saint outside of his worklife, but there is some pretty damning evidence against him in there (like an ironic consistency in stealing others work for his own use). Somehow people have let this megalomaniac gain traction in the past, and for once I will applaud EA for stomping on someone's neck.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:38 PM on October 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


In defence of the 80s incarnation of The Edge, Fairlight was pretty cool. Oh wait, Langdell screwed the developer on that.
posted by Artw at 11:59 PM on October 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


t's kind of sleazy, but he's just exploiting the law, not impoverished workers in China or something like that.

That's true on its face, but the victims of his legal exploits are other actual people and businesses who happen to be unlucky enough to stumble upon his carefully planted trademark landmines, and it does real damage to them.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:14 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:22 AM on October 4, 2009


Edge is, by far, the best iPhone game I've played and it deserves to be out there for everyone, not pulled because of some complete litigious asshat. I'm very much looking forward to whatever the company releases next.
posted by fstorr at 8:43 AM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


In defence of the 80s incarnation of The Edge, Fairlight was pretty cool. Oh wait, Langdell screwed the developer on that.

Yeah, screwed him enough to make him leave the gaming business for good and move back to Sweden. Judging from his home page, he's still into IT, working on administrative systems as a subcontractor and maintaining a cat page, so I guess it could be worse, but...
posted by effbot at 8:59 AM on October 4, 2009


(the Fairlight guy's about my age, btw, and we got into programming in almost exactly the same way. Same era, a least. And great times for people who wanted to tinker with things on their own. I never got around to buy a Spectrum, though...)
posted by effbot at 9:02 AM on October 4, 2009


C=64 then Amiga here.

Judging by the blog he's pretty much screwed over ever developer he's ever met.
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on October 4, 2009


Goddammit!

Medium4mat Games was due to release "Edgiest Edge 2: Over the Edge" next month.
posted by medium format at 10:08 AM on October 4, 2009


Langdell flatly denied that Edge ever committed fraud in applying for its U.S. trademarks.

So, are there repercussions he'll face if this turns out to be not the case? And if so, what are the chances that the judge could get creative with sentencing... I'm thinking "we are going to ensure that we fit an 'edge' into all aspects of your punishment. How do you feel about cliffs and knives? Because both are going to feature prominently in your life for the next couple of months..."
posted by quin at 10:13 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Edge by mobigame is back up in the US and UK Apple App store as of today (well, yesterday, the 6th).
posted by jamaro at 12:50 AM on October 7, 2009


Update on what is hopefully a happy ending for Mobigame.
posted by jontyjago at 6:15 AM on October 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


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