EA vs Edge trademark case - GAME OVER! - read post #169

I know it's not over yet, but damn, that order is quite a smackdown. The judge all but comes out and says he knows Langdell's full of shit. He describes Langdell's conduct as "disturbing" and "egregious" a number of times.

Additionally, EA has put forth substantial evidence calling into severe question many of the representations made by Dr. Langdell in his declaration submitted to the Court. Indeed, the declarations provided by EA from two of plaintiff’s supposed “licensees” — Marvel Entertainment and Future Publishing — revealed that many of Dr. Langdell’s assertions in his declaration were materially misleading or downright false. These falsehoods infect all of Dr. Langdell’s assertions regarding the bona fide and continuous use of the asserted marks in commerce and the purported “sales” of his company’s video-game products. In other words, all of his representations have become highly suspect in light of the evidence presented by EA.
Indeed, EA has produced compelling evidence that plaintiff’s video-game products may not even be available for sale to consumers at all.
Second, given the suspect nature of Dr. Langdell’s representations to both the USPTO and the Court concerning plaintiff’s current and future sales and business activities, it is an open question whether plaintiff’s business activities legitimately extend beyond trolling various gaming-related industries for licensing opportunities.
LOL, judge used "trolling" in a ruling. :lol :lol

First, for all the reasons already discussed in this order, Edge Games has not established that the balance of equities tips in its favor. All of its representations regarding the validity and use of the asserted marks are infected by evidence of deceit. Moreover, there is scant evidence that Edge Games has invested any amount of funds into the development of recent products and services bearing the asserted marks.
"infected by evidence of deceit." Dayum.
 

Stinkles

Clothed, sober, cooperative
TheExodu5 said:
They both mean the same thing. Trolling aka Baiting.

The origin of the word, on the internet, is "trawling" as in the maritime fishing term. Fishing for reactions effectively. The mythical monster Troll is a phonetic addition/interpretation. However, the word's meaning could arguably be connected to "lurking and waiting to pounce" which is more in keeping with a supernatural Troll.
 

phisheep

NeoGAF's Chief Barrister
Vorador said:
Fuck, more than a whole year until we get a real ruling on the case. :/

Thanks phisheep for the updates.
Not necessarily. There's plenty of time between now and then for Langdell+lawyers to face up to reality ...

Oh. I see what you mean.

Well, hell, this trial is going to be one of the great public sporting events of the decade, so I suppose it is worth waiting for.
 

phisheep

NeoGAF's Chief Barrister
NichM said:
A new development? Given how bad the reporting has been on this case recently, I'm interested to hear phisheep weigh in on it.
This time, they got it right. Thanks for the heads-up NichM - I had downloaded the latest court documents last night but was too tired to read them!

It looks like - subject only to the judge's ruling - the case has been settled.

EDIT: Just so nobody's under any misapprehensions, this means that the two parties (through their lawyers) have documented and signed an agreement as to what they would like to happen, but nothing actually happens until the judge says so.

What happened is this:

In light of the allegations of fraud, the court had ordered Langdell to give deposition on the fraud allegations on October 6th.

As I mentioned a few posts above on 5th October, there was an opening for a settlement in the case provided that Langdell came out of it without a finding of fraud against him:

phisheep said:
The trouble is, if the counterclaim goes ahead, the trial will be very dangerous for Langdell. So does he have any room for a settlement? And is there anything that EA could be persuaded to settle on?

I think maybe there is.

You see, if Langdell settles on giving up the trademarks on the grounds of abandonment, but not of fraud (the two are not mutually exclusive) then he might have a chance of escaping further civil lawsuits (on the basis that he will not have any money worth chasing after) and criminal lawsuits (on the basis of lack of evidence). There would still be a risk of criminal proceedings, but the burden of proof would be a high one. In addition, he would still hold on to trademarks in other jurisdictions (like the UK).

EA might be persuaded to accept this (plus costs) in settlement.
And this is pretty well what has happened. In return (apparently) for a quick settlement Langdell does not now have to give a deposition on the fraud allegations (that order was granted yesterday).

The terms of the proposed settlement are broadly as follows:

- Each party bears its own costs.

- Neither party admits any wrongdoing (so, no finding of fraud/perjury against Langdell).

- both Langdell's claim and EA's counterclaim are found in favour of EA on all points except one ...

- ... the court WILL NOT give declaratory relief that Langdell has lost any common law rights he might have in 'Edge', that claim is dismissed without prejudice

- the court MAY cancel the five Langdell trademarks at issue (it has to be worded that way because cancellation under these circumstances - without a finding of fraud or abandonment - is at the court's discretion)

This does not finally kill off Langdell, but it does leave him mortally wounded and with the other vultures circling. I think that is the correct legal terminology.

We have to wait for the judge's final ruling to be certain, but since it seems very likely to be granted, we need to look at the loose ends and what happens next.

Loose ends

The ‘cancellation case’ before the USPTO will be terminated, as it will no longer be necessary – so long as the federal court does cancel the trademarks.

The ‘opposition case' before the USPTO will be resuscitated. That’s the one where Langdell is trying to register ‘Edge’ for videogames (which he does not currently have for some bizarre reason). Since this case contains the same fraud allegations, which Langdell must avoid at all costs, I expect that he will voluntarily abandon it (in a fairly loose sense of the word ‘voluntarily’).

I don’t expect any other company to have the resources to pursue Langdell over fraud in the civil courts, but I do expect that there will be criminal proceedings brought, at least in the US.

I do expect further civil actions in respect of the cancelled marks in the US and in respect of all marks that Langdell holds in the UK.


I’ll post more when the final verdict is issued.

But it looks like very good news indeed.

I guess some of us will be disappointed that EA didn’t go the whole way and kill Langdell off for good, but as I said above I don’t blame them in the least for stopping at this stage – they have got what they needed and got far enough that Langdell can be safely ignored, or at least severely warned off, by future victims.
 

phisheep

NeoGAF's Chief Barrister
Pocketgamer is reporting that Langdell has been stripped of the trademarks.

This might be just them jumping the gun, or something may have happened. I can only update my list of court documents once every twenty-four hours so there will be about an 11-hour delay before I can check this one properly.

I have been giving some thought as to how to handle the aftermath of this judgement when it is delivered because (a) Judge William Alsup was awesomely and unusually direct in the way he worded the order against Langdell's motion to dismiss the counterclaim - I get the impression he just wants to get the stuff sorted and will not pussyfoot around, so there's no telling what he might say (b) there will quite visible repercussions fairly quickly in the US and Europe along a number of different tacks (website changes, criminal proceedings, sub judice claims, possibly a whole host of civil actions.

I'm tempted, once the judgment is delivered, to open up a new thread to chronicle the 'Decline and Fall' just out of interest. It won't necessarily get updated that often but it should be of general interest to follow the collapse of the Edge empire such as it was (or wasn't). Let's see what the judgment says first. But I expect this to be a case of more general importance (at least within the USPTO) than it appears to have at first glance.
 
phisheep said:
Pocketgamer is reporting that Langdell has been stripped of the trademarks.

This might be just them jumping the gun, or something may have happened. I can only update my list of court documents once every twenty-four hours so there will be about an 11-hour delay before I can check this one properly.
I think it might be them jumping the gun. Their exact words were, "Following a request from publisher EA to cancel Langdell's trademarks - due to fraudulent behavior in the patent system - the court has officially requested that the US trademark commissioner remove the trademarked words from Edge Games's ownership." Which we knew already. It doesn't sound like the USPTO has responded to the request yet.
 

phisheep

NeoGAF's Chief Barrister
Today Judge William Alsup delivered final judgment in the case of Edge Games v EA/DICE.

It is as agreed between the parties as I posted above.
- everything decided in favour of EA/DICE (well, very nearly)
- the five trademarks at issue are cancelled
- no admission or finding of wrongdoing
- no declaration against any of Langdell's common law rights
-no award of costs between parties

As I expected, he has gone a little beyond the agreed judgment and made a further order that:

1) a copy of the motion denying the preliminary injunction (the one that detailed the allegations of fraud) be delivered to the USPTO (this pretty well guarantees that Langdell's current application for a trademark for "Edge" covering videogames will be denied, and that all of Langdell's past and future activities with the USPTO will be carefully scrutinised)

2) Langdell himself (or his companies) must deliver a copy of that order and the final judgment to ALL HIS CURRENT LICENSEES by October 15th, thus giving them an open goal to shoot into with any claims they have.

Wonderful outcome, and all respect to the judge in this case.

I expect there to be a lot of activity in the next few weeks and months as a result of this bothin the US and elsewhere.

That second order is a work of judicial genius!
 

mattiewheels

And then the LORD David Bowie saith to his Son, Jonny Depp: 'Go, and spread my image amongst the cosmos. For every living thing is in anguish and only the LIGHT shall give them reprieve.'
Thanks for the info, do you know who his current licensees are exactly? I'm assuming the judge knows or there would be no way to confirm they'd recieved it. I still expect things to go 'missing' in the postal system..
 
That was blinding fast :D :D i expected the case to turn a lot more murkier with Langdell trying to stall as most as he could, but it looks like he dropped the fight to avoid getting a fraud ruling.

Thanks as always phisheep.
 
phisheep said:
2) Langdell himself (or his companies) must deliver a copy of that order and the final judgment to ALL HIS CURRENT LICENSEES by October 15th, thus giving them an open goal to shoot into with any claims they have.
Does this provide grounds for his licensees to seek reparations for any licensing fees they may have paid Langdell?
 

phisheep

NeoGAF's Chief Barrister
Graphics Horse said:
Thanks for the info, do you know who his current licensees are exactly? I'm assuming the judge knows or there would be no way to confirm they'd recieved it. I still expect things to go 'missing' in the postal system..
The important point is not that the judge knows, but that the licensees know. Because if Langdell fails to deliver to them by the 15th they can have him for contempt of court, or validly assume that they are no longer licensees and stop paying him. It is a catch-22 for Langdell.

dream said:
Does this provide grounds for his licensees to seek reparations for any licensing fees they may have paid Langdell?
Possibly. The difficulty lies in when the trademarks are cancelled from. I guess they will be cancelled from today, which means that any previous licence fees will be prima facie valid unless they were induced by fraud or misrepresentation.

I think the initial burden will be on the USPTO to work out what to do with the cancellations. Then we'll see what happens.

There might be another way though - I'll have a think about it.
 
phisheep said:
2) Langdell himself (or his companies) must deliver a copy of that order and the final judgment to ALL HIS CURRENT LICENSEES by October 15th, thus giving them an open goal to shoot into with any claims they have.
Does this mean that he has to prove that he has been actively using the licenses in his own products?
 
phisheep said:
The important point is not that the judge knows, but that the licensees know. Because if Langdell fails to deliver to them by the 15th they can have him for contempt of court, or validly assume that they are no longer licensees and stop paying him. It is a catch-22 for Langdell.
I see, thanks. I was imagining licensees who weren't aware of this case and wouldn't notice if they didn't recieve anything. but that doesn't sound very likely now I think about it! :lol
 
phisheep said:
Possibly. The difficulty lies in when the trademarks are cancelled from. I guess they will be cancelled from today, which means that any previous licence fees will be prima facie valid unless they were induced by fraud or misrepresentation..
If that's the case, would the legal ruling on the trademarks be that they were valid and applied for in good faith up until this settlement?
 

phisheep

NeoGAF's Chief Barrister
dream said:
If that's the case, would the legal ruling on the trademarks be that they were valid and applied for in good faith up until this settlement?
Except that the interim judgment explicitly casts doubt on the good faith of Langdell and removes his presumptive right to it.

Neat, huh?

It remains to be seen exactly what the impact of this is. Haven't had the time to think about it in detail.
 
phisheep said:
Except that the interim judgment explicitly casts doubt on the good faith of Langdell and removes his presumptive right to it.

Neat, huh?

It remains to be seen exactly what the impact of this is. Haven't had the time to think about it in detail.
So in legal terms, the man is fucked?
 
phisheep said:
Yep. I'm fairly sure that is the strictly correct terminology.

We don't know yet exactly when and by whom though. There's plenty to go.
I'm just happy as long as he's held accountable in some manner.

Thanks for all your analysis here and on Chaosedge. I feel like I should be getting an invoice for billable hours :lol
 

phisheep

NeoGAF's Chief Barrister
I just re-read the final judgment and order in case I missed something.

Guess what - I did miss something.

The final judgment is CONDITIONAL ON the parties complying with the order. And the only part of the order binding on the parties is that on Langdell to notify his own fraud to his own licensees.

In short, if Langdell fails to notify his licensees that he is a fraud (that's what it amounts to) by 15th October then the judgment in the settlement will fail and he will face an immediate fraud deposition before the court.

That judge is damn good.
 
phisheep said:
I just re-read the final judgment and order in case I missed something.

Guess what - I did miss something.

The final judgment is CONDITIONAL ON the parties complying with the order. And the only part of the order binding on the parties is that on Langdell to notify his own fraud to his own licensees.

In short, if Langdell fails to notify his licencees that he is a fraud (that's what it amounts to) then the judgment in the settlement will fail and he will face immediate fraud charges before the court.

That judge is damn good.
:lol :lol
 

jvm

Gamasutra.
Ok, seriously. I am tearing up with joy here. My impression has been that this is a truly bad actor running amok, and he's finally met his match and been punished suitably. (Hoist on his own petard, as I believe we say.)

The guys from King of Kong, or someone, should do a documentary or something.

Anyway, great work phisheep. Looking forward to your "Fall" thread.
 

ZealousD

Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
phisheep said:
I just re-read the final judgment and order in case I missed something.

Guess what - I did miss something.

The final judgment is CONDITIONAL ON the parties complying with the order. And the only part of the order binding on the parties is that on Langdell to notify his own fraud to his own licensees.

In short, if Langdell fails to notify his licensees that he is a fraud (that's what it amounts to) by 15th October then the judgment in the settlement will fail and he will face an immediate fraud deposition before the court.

That judge is damn good.
Is it wrong that I hope he doesn't notify his licensees to his fraud? That he tries some sort of last minute squirm attempt to hold on to his trademarks and tries to face down the court, only to lose and be found guilty?
 
It's nice to see the outcome of this be in favour of who I felt were the good guys in this case.

Also, massive thanks to phisheep for keeping everyone up to date on this with such speed and accuracy, whilst keeping it simple enough to understand.
 
Hurray EA! Man, did that company's image change over the last few years. Anyone of EA reading this: Thanks!

Down with Langdell! Scum of the gaming world, a parasite among developers.

:D

Thanks phisheep for everything! Legal documents are especially hard to read for non-native speakers, so your summaries were greatly appreciated.
 
What, common sense and justice prevails?

Picardwtfisthishit.jpeg

When is the big GAF rally with pitchforks and torches outside of Edge Games "office"?