Remember Tim Langdell? The CEO of Edge Games, who recently stepped down from the IGDA board citing negative press, has continued to create a stir amongst game makers over his ownership of the Edge trademark, which forced Mobigames' lauded Edge game for the iPhone off the iTunes marketplace. Langdell has owned the trademark for years, but might not much longer.
Prompted by threats related to Mirror's Edge, Electronic Arts has filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to "petition for cancellation" of Edge Games' ownership over the trademark.
"Since September 2008, Registrant has continuously threatened to file suit against EA for distributing the MIRROR'S EDGE game on the basis of his purported 'family of registered EDGE marks,'" states the 26-page complaint filed on September 10. "Petitioners reasonably believe that Registrant will contest their right to use the MIRROR'S EDGE mark."
The legal threats leveled against EA clearly had no effect on EA's ability to release and distribute Mirror's Edge, as evidenced by its appearance on store shelves in 2008. But the troubles Edge on iPhone encountered seem to have pushed EA to finally take action against Edge Games, though EA would not explicitly say so when I talked to the publisher.
"EA has filed a complaint to put an end to legal threats over a trademark issue related to our game, Mirror’s Edge," explained EA VP of corporate communications Jeff Brown to me over e-mail. "While this seems like a small issue for EA, we think that filing the complaint is the right thing to do for the developer community."
"A lot of small developers who are faced with this situation settle claims because they don’t know how, or can’t afford to fight for their rights," continued Brown. "We hope that as a result of this action, other developers will be less intimidated by unwarranted legal threats."
As one would expect, Edge Games does not agree with EA's claims.
"EA/DICE have no foundation for such an action, and have no possible chance of prevailing," said Langdell in a brief statement released to me over e-mail. "They have filed these actions merely to put off the day they have to deal with the fact the USPTO has rejected their application for MIRROR'S EDGE, citing our long established EDGE registrations against them."
Stay tuned, as I'll continue to monitor where the legal battle goes from here.