Like software patents, trademarks are, theoretically, quite sound – declare a sign, logo or word as a defining part of your company image and nobody else can try to pass themselves off as you without a legal ruckus.
Like software patents, protecting trademarks is encouraged, lest you lose them (just look at Games Workshop).
Like a software patent, a trademark is a horrible, icky creature, governed by a system that is massively open to abuse…
Timothy Langdell is a trademark troll – like a normal troll, only he doesn’t live under a bridge, although he’s just as much a slimy ****. He doesn’t have the talent to actively protect his solitary trademark (the word ‘EDGE’) so instead tries to strong-arm the financially weak into giving him money for use of the word.
Only Tim decided that small-fry indie developers were just that, too small-fry, for him to bother with. So the only logical step was to take Electronic Arts to court! Bad idea Tim…
GI.biz is carrying the story (broken by IndustryGamers) that a California Judge has upheld EA’s defense, thrown out Langdell’s case & raised the potential for Langdell to face a criminal charges for deceiving the USPTO by submitting repeated, false claims and doctored evidence.
In what seems like a win for both EA (+1 karma) and all the little guys out there, a spokesperson for the former had the following to say…
[We are] pleased with the opinion issued by the court. We hope that this case serves as a milestone in protecting independent developers from nuisance litigation.
Go EA! Also, now that you’re in the clear, get out there and make Mirror’s Edge 2!
Things have progressed in the right direction – according to this article (thanks RPS), pending review by a judge, the groundwork has been laid for all of Langdell’s edge-based trademarks to be binned.
Pursuant to Section 37 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1119, the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks and the Assistant Commissioner for Trademarks are hereby ordered to cancel U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 2,219,837; 2,251,584; 3,105,816; 3,559,342; and 3,381,826. The Clerk of the Court is further directed to certify a copy of this Final Judgment to the Commissioner of the Patent and Trademark Office.
Each party shall bear its owns costs and fees in this matter.
It’s a shame that Timmy isn’t paying for EA’s suite of high-priced lawyers out of his own misappropriated funds.