By John Walker on July 26th, 2011 at 1:57 pm.
A good morning is a morning that begins with an email from Tim Langdell. The lone gunman behind EDGE Games, and all the various EDGE-based products and games he has or has not released, has got in touch with RPS to put the record straight, to claim that everything he did was Future Publishing’s fault, and to call the judge who recently ruled against him “gullible”.
This begins with an email, attached to a document that goes on for over 7,000 words, sent from an anonymous individual from within the Edge corporation. Split across two offices, the international company employs at least as many as one people, and someone from within their number got in touch.
Seeing the misunderstandings in your RPS article, largely we appreciate copied from the misunderstandings in the ChaosEdge writings, we thought it might assist you to see the attached.
We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
In the meantime, we can confirm that Edge has filed an official Appeal to the Future verdict that identified many tens of clear errors of fact in Justice Proudman’s Judgment. We remain very confident of winning on Appeal. We have also filed a new Claim against Future that we are confident of prevailing on, too. Not least because Justice Proudman’s Judgment actually goes in our favor on some heads of claim we now have against Future.
What do you think of the twist that now EA are effectively “suing” Future over the US EDGE trade mark as a result of the latest decision by the US Trademark Office?
Pasadena, CA / London, UK
It’s probably important to note that the article to which this mysterious, unknown employee refers was in fact “largely copied” from the judge’s statement after Tim Langdell and Edge Corp lost to Future in court. A statement which humiliatingly pointed out the many apparent falsehoods Langdell had given in court, and indeed observed quite how suspicious much of the evidence he had presented had seemed to her. This information came directly from the judge’s pen, and was in no way misconstrued or reinterpreted by another source before it got to RPS. Seems important to clear that up.
That’s not to say the wonderful ChaosEdge has not been an invaluable source throughout the last few years of Langdell’s time in and out of the courts, and has documented (with abundant evidence at every stage) some of the more extraordinary details that surround this whole affair.
The documentation that was sent to us last night is a very updated version of that which was sent to Eurogamer last week, which now contains dozens of pages of claims and refutations, presumably intended to win sympathy for Edge Corp ahead of his extremely bold appeal against Future’s recent victory, along with evidence he claims proves Future’s “duplicity”.
The trademark trolling reputation that Langdell has gained over the last decade or so was, he so repeatedly tells us, not his fault. Not one bit. In fact, it was all Future Publishing’s fault. In 2004, Langdell entered an agreement with Future where they paid him a big wad of cash for the EDGE trademark, seemingly to make him just bloody shut up. Langdell is now claiming that part of this agreement was that he doggedly pursue any alleged infringements of the trademark for “Edge” relating to gaming, or they’d take his money back. So it was, he now says, not his will to chase after and try to sue so many who have used the Edge trademark. He did not want to chase after Mobigame for their iOS game Edge. He did not want to chase after EA for Mirror’s Edge. And now that he is “free” from the agreement with Future, he is finally able to support Mobigame as he always wanted to. Things get a little more involved when he includes emails purportedly from Future’s lawyer, strictly instructing him to get on with pursuing the Mirror’s Edge case against EA. We are choosing not to publish these emails as we have no desire to perjure ourselves, nor unduly affect the outcome of any appeal that may occur. Especially as we have no way of knowing if they’re real. But it’s interesting that Langdell wants them in public.
Amazingly, Langdell has changed the Edge Games front page to include a link to buy Mobigame’s Edge. Something Mobigame told Eurogamer has made them furious, and they claim they will be taking legal action to have him remove this.
The changes to the Edge Games front page get even weirder. As well as featuring Bobby Bearing 2: Rerolled, the sequel to an Edge Games (the The Edge) game from 1986, prominently at the top (this is to prove that Edge still releases games, despite being the only game I can find that they’ve released in very many years, and indeed one that itself is already being challenged), the site now boasts the claim.
And that asterisk?
He asserts Future are both using the name “EDGE” under license from Edge Corp and have no association or connection to Edge Corp. Well, there’s much more on that below.
It’s also worth noting this rather adorable bit of text at the end:
We’ve contacted Langdell to find out more details about this generosity.
But back to Langdell’s claims. One misconception he cites is that Edge Games lost its US trademarks, with the following muddled passage:
“Edge Games has not lose any of its core U.S. trademark rights: the settlement with EA and the Court Order stipulated that all of Edge’s “common law” rights in all of its Edge trademarks remained in place and valid. And it is common law rights that govern in the U.S., not registered marks. Contrary to reports, Edge also retained one of its U.S. “EDGE” registrations that it owns jointly with Future Publishing. Part of the settlement with EA was also the withdrawal of EA’s revocation of Edge’s UK marks, and the confirmation Edge’s UK marks were valid.”
This is also accompanied by a copy of his letter to have his abandoning of his US trademarks reversed, in light of the results of the recent court battles. But I’m not a trademark lawyer, and can really not fathom all of that side of things. This is all alongside protesting that Edge Corp invariably enters amicable agreements over licensing, and rarely takes license fees. The list of “obvious misconceptions” continues with,
“Edge does not make a habit of taking legal action over the Edge mark: in the past twenty years Edge has only ever taken only two legal actions: one against Future Publishing (in 1994) and a second against EA (in 2010) – and the latter was because Future required them to do so.”
There’s also an enormous section alleging how Future Publishing forced Edge Corp’s hand at every turn, along with accompanying email evidence. Now, perhaps I’ve become cynical, but after the judge so very heavily implied that the emails Langdell was presenting in court were not genuine, I’m not immediately certain that these could be either. But if they’re real, they appear to support his claims. although things are a little tricky to follow since so much of Langdell’s email is in impenetrable prose. Trying to fathom my way through passages like the following is proving quite the challenge.
“Also attached is a redacted copy of the Fourth Witness Statement of its head of legal, Mark Millar, filed in the UK court by Future. In response to Edge pointing out that Future seemed to be forcing Edge to be seen as the “bad guy,” being required to take action over the Edge mark use by others while Future sat by doing nothing and protecting its image, Millar responds by saying Future was active in protecting the EDGE mark and gives the example that he brought the Mobigame infringement to Edge’s attention. Millar is also responding to Edge pointing out how disingenuous it was for Millar to give the impression on March 5th 2009 that Future had only just discovered Mobigame’s game “Edge.” It was not credible that Future’s EDGE magazine staff were not aware of Mobigame’s Edge prior to March 2009; even though Edge Games didn’t notice the awards Mobogame’s game had won prior to March 2009 it just isn’t credible that Future with their vast network of game news writers and editors had no knowledge of them.”
Langdell’s appeal appears to be hanging absolutely everything on this one wobbly peg. That he can now prove that it was all Future’s responsibility, and worse, that Future were duplicitous in this.
“The timing of Future’s notification to Edge of what Future regarded as Mobigame’s infringement was thus very suspect: for Future it was a win-win. If Edge had failed to start a dispute with Mobigame then Future would have sued Edge for breaching the 2004 Agreement and demand damages including return of all their money. But if Edge did start a dispute as the 2004 agreement called on it to do, then Future would just later claim the bad press Edge had attracted meant Future should be able to terminate the 2004 Agreement (which is the argument they made to the UK Judge). Either way Edge stood no chance against this duplicity by Future.”
It’s not clear from this passage how this demonstrates suspect timing. But it’s very clear that since all this Langdell is trying to become best friends with Mobigame. In light of his finally being free of the tyrannical Future, he has now “extended the olive branch to Mobigame’s David Papazian and not yet had a response.” This might be because Mobigame’s Papazian is not too impressed by the efforts. He told Eurogamer,
“We have no connection to Edge games (and we don’t want one). We believe this is a cynical attempt by Tim Langdell to generate sympathy for his court case. He will try to use the argument ‘Future made me do it’ for his appeal against the Future lawsuit. We are certain that he will lose again, and he will probably be put in jail.”
Although quite what Mobigame are up to now I’m not sure. Apple have told Langdell, he says, that Mobigame have applied to have Bobby Bearing 2 removed from the App Store because they are now claiming the “Edge” trademark themselves. While perhaps a tit-for-tat revenge move, it does seem a slightly hypocritical one. Although perhaps not as hypocritical as Langdell’s pleading response,
“Given how severely Edge and Tim Langdell were pilloried when people thought Edge was claiming sole rights in the word “Edge” it is hoped Mobigame don’t pursue this claim to owning the word EDGE to the exclusion of Edge’s 27 years of use of EDGE/THE EDGE.”
So, Langdell offers us some evidence that Future were complicit in these previous attempts to protect the “Edge” trademark. As we said, we’re not reproducing it here, as we have no way of knowing its validity, nor whether doing such a thing would affect the forthcoming appeal. However, much of it is so heavily redacted that it reaches the point of parody, especially with the statement Millar gave to court. He may as well picked out words that spell out, “I… think… Tim Langdell… is… great”.
As a result of all this, Langdell is filing a counter-claim against Future, in which he is alleging that Future caused Edge and Tim Langdell damage to his reputation by “forcing Edge to take action against Mobigame and EA.” He also alleges a series of ways Future breached the 2004 agreement, including claiming that he didn’t copy Future’s EDGE logo. Which is a pretty bold claim there. He says that their sharing the brand, as he believes was agreed, meant this was fair. He also alleges that Future required Edge Corp. to assign them the marks, THE EDGE, EDGE NET, MAGIC EDGE and GAMER’S EDGE for magazines, and that Future should have to abandon these marks for not having used them.
Then Langdell decides it’s the right moment to let rip at the judge, Mrs Justice Proudman.
“As to the Appeal against the recent UK Court decision, Edge is also very confident of winning. Edge was very unlucky to have a Judge that did not understand technology, who had little idea what a 5.25” disk is, and who had no concept of how mobile and PC games are sold on the Internet. Edge is confident that the Appeal’s court judge will understand these basic principals and rule in Edge’s favor, entirely reversing the first Judge’s judgment.”
Then he spins off again, trying to defend everything else that Justice Proudman condemned in her statement. Amazingly, he defends his use of a near-exact copy of the EDGE magazine logo (originally created by Future in 1993) by saying he’d been using it on letterhead for four years since 2000 before Future entered the 2004 agreement. So, um, therefore it was okay? He once more spits at Justice Proudman, describing the decision that Future were correct to finally object to his use of their logo in 2009 by saying it was,
“a clearly absurd and disingenuous assertion that sadly the judge was so gullible she saw no problem with.”
He does not return to his previous claim that he in fact invented the EDGE logo in 1991, and Future accidentally copied it two years later.
Instead he turns to the 5.25 disc fiasco – surely the highlight of the previous trial – in which it was stated by the judge that his evidence appeared to have been doctored to appear as if it were from 1991, when it had in fact been created using Windows 95. This, Langdell then and now explains by saying that it was given in error, and was a duplicate made in 1995 as part of evidence in his case with Future in 1994-1996. A duplicate that was deliberately back-dated to appear as if it were from 1991, for given reasons that the judge laughed out of court. Langdell describes the handing in of the 1995 disc by his forensic experts as “a huge and unforgivable error”. The judge at the time accepted Future’s expert’s suggestion that if Langdell were to then produce a disc that did appear to be created in 1991, it would be because the expert had essentially explained how to do it in court. Langdell, meanwhile, maintains that the second 1991 disc is in fact genuine. This somewhat contradicts his claims in court that the mixup happened when the discs were duplicated in the past, rather than by the expert providing the evidence more recently. Langdell claims that all of this was the spin of Future, confusing the judge.
“Future saw its opportunity to confuse the Judge – which it succeeded in doing well – by suggesting to the Judge that the 1995 disk was some kind of amateurish attempt to fabricate evidence and the 1991 disk was merely a better attempt at a fake. This was all nonsense, of course, and as absurd as Future’s allegations were the Judge bought their version of events because she didn’t understand what 5.25” disks were. Indeed, she refused to accept the actual 5.25” disks into evidence and refused to even look at them, a key issue the Appeal court will see as a critical error by the judge.”
Her reasoning for not accepting the second/third disc was as stated above, and because from the judge’s ruling the production of these discs was not quite as Langdell now describes. But it does not stop there. The judge, Langdell says, was also wrong to accept that there were no legitimate sales of Edge Games’ products in the UK, again claiming her ignorance.
“It was in error both on fact and in UK law and Edge is entirely certain this decision will get reversed on Appeal. The Judge herself in her judgment acknowledged that the law requires virtually no use at all to be shown in order to overcome an allegation of abandonment. The sale of a single item can be sufficient to overcome abandonment, and the Judge had evidence of many UK sales by Edge in the last five years. Indeed, the Judge even referred to several of the sales herself – and, no, there is no truth at all to the false statements in the press that the only sales were those purchases made by Future. There were sales to UK customers other than Future’s test purchases of both RACERS and MYTHORA for PC. There was also clear evidence of sales of thousands of units of Edge’s three mobile games (Bobby Bearing, Pengu and Battlepods) in the UK in the past five years, but the Judge did not understand how mobile games are sold and so wrongly ignored all the evidence.”
This then ends with an extraordinary claim,
“Also, Future hid a sizable [sic] amount of Edge’s evidence from the court by the trick of promising to deliver it at trial itself so that Edge would not need to bring it from America. Then at trial Future failed to produce this evidence that proved Edge’s more recent UK sales. The Appeal court will see this as another key reason not to grant Future’s request that Edge’s UK trademark registrations be canceled.”
Regarding the emails said by Justice Proudman to have likely been fabricated, again Langdell claims his evidence was ignored, and adds for good measure,
“Again, sadly, the Judge was gullible enough to buy Future’s distorted version of events, and she completely ignored Edge’s statement that the email had bounced.”
This does somewhat ignore the more humorous moment when Future’s lawyers pointed out the alleged missing emails looked nothing like the other emails sent, which Langdell does not address.
Let’s just summarise those comments about the judge:
“a Judge that did not understand technology, who had little idea what a 5.25” disk is, and who had no concept of how mobile and PC games are sold on the Internet”
“the judge was so gullible”
“she didn’t understand what 5.25” disks were”
“the Judge did not understand how mobile games are sold and so wrongly ignored all the evidence”
Judges love it when people say things like that.
Langdell also claims that Future told the courts in July that,
“it had spent a sizable proportion of all of Future Publishing’s profit for the past year from all sources (not just selling Edge Magazine) suing Edge, making it sound like it had almost
bankrupted itself to attack Edge. One wonders how the Future Board approved this use of funds, or how the parent public company could have approved what they did, either. They didn’t care what damage was caused to Mobigame or the other Indies Edge was forced to take action against such as Nalin Sharma; Future just wanted to get out of the 2004 agreement with Edge no matter what the negative impact on the independent game community worldwide. It was an utterly selfish move by Future, and they cannot be happy with the result. Certainly, they will not be happy when Edge prevails on the Appeal and the Cross-Complaint
There’s then thousands of words about the case against EA, once again defending himself throughout, and now claiming that Future is a joint-defendant in that case. But that’s for another man on another site to spend his time with.
Naturally we approached Future regarding Langdell’s appeal, although before they had seen any of the information stated above. They gave us this statement:
“As has been widely reported, Future was successful before the English High Court in all of its claims against Edge Interactive Media, Edge Games and Dr Timothy Langdell. The judgement of Mrs Justice Proudman (which is publicly available here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2011/1489.html) speaks for itself. In addition to finding in Future’s favour on every point, the Court also found that Dr Langdell had ‘concocted’ evidence to support his case. Future has therefore been given permission to bring proceedings against Dr Langdell for contempt of court. Dr Langdell’s counterclaim against Future was struck out and Future has not been served with any subsequent proceedings brought by Dr Langdell or his companies, either in the UK or the United States.”
It’s looking as though they may be getting one soon, however.