Tim Langdell, The Righthaven Of The Software World, Gets The 'Righthaven Treatment' From A UK Court

from the reorganizing-as-'chapeau-de-cul-software' dept

Nathan F sends us the great news that infamous one-man trademark troll Tim Langdell has finally "gotten his" at the hands of a UK court. Having spent the last few years threatening and suing anyone with the audacity to put the letters E, D, G and (um…) E in close proximity, Langdell has earned the contempt of, well, pretty much anyone who has ever used "Edge" in their products, from the lowliest app developers to the mighty EA itself.

And much like one of the most epic trolls of all time — Righthaven — Langdell has found himself on the receiving end of a full-blast dressing down via the legal system. Even better, Langdell’s last-minute desperation plays produced an embarassment of riches, each one of them yet another embarassment. 

To kick off the beatdown, Mrs. Justice Proudman first addressed Langdell’s fictional associate:

I am satisfied that EIM and Games Inc are controlled exclusively by Dr Langdell. A "Jack Phillips" has occasionally put his name to witness statements on behalf of EIM in the past but he is not mentioned at all by Dr Langdell in his evidence and I suspect (without making any findings in this respect) that the claimant is right in saying that he does not exist and is an invention of Dr Langdell.

Then there was the whole problem with his "imaginative" logo, which is the other 50% of Langdell’s legal wranglings:

The good doctor seemed to take as many nonsensical approaches to defending his use of the EDGE logo as possible, also arguing that because he “copied” it on a letterhead to Future, that this was an “estoppel representation“, which even the judge can’t seem to be bothered to fathom. And then, despite having admitted to copying it, and claiming to have been given permission to use it, he brilliantly asserts that he also invented it in 1991! Future, it seemed, “consciously or unconsciously” copied it two years later when they launched the magazine. This was somewhat scuppered when Future produced the original designer of the logo, and Langdell had nothing useful to say to defend against that.

But wait, there’s more! Langdell is apparently still carrying around outdated storage, just to store his outdated logo. The most remarkable thing about this magical disk and its enclosed catalogue is its ability to travel through time, much like the logo itself:

However, Langdell had produced some floppy discs which stored logo, as evidence that it pre-existed the magazine. He claimed that the logo had been published on a “single page catalogue” and a flysheet he used at trade shows, but when asked to show a physical copy said that there was, er, “scarcity of use” pre 1993. But those discs – he’d saved “catalogue” and flysheet onto 5.25″ disc in 1991. He was home free! But wow, it was about to get brilliant.

The disc was too delicate to be shipped to the UK, said Dr Tim. Despite it already having been sent across the Atlantic twice. The court ordered him to send it over. And thus Langdell sent the disc to an expert, Mr Steggles of Disklabs, who verified that the disc was indeed from 1991, and said that in his opinion it was “genuinely created at that time.” Surely Langdell was finally onto a winner? Except, well, Future’s expert, Mr Dearsley of Kroll Computers, pointed something out. The content had been created by Windows 95.

At this point, everyone (possibly even Righthaven) would have given up, but Langdell pressed on, according to Justice Proudman:

He then produced an involved and absurd story about how he had found two disks in a box in 2009, one of which was a mid-90s back up disk (“disk 2″) and the other of which, (disk 1) was used to clone the original. He said he took the two disks to a “repair man” and mixed them up by marking the wrong one. His oral evidence did not tally with his witness statement and his evidence about the boxes in which he allegedly found disk 1 and disk 2 was confused and unpersuasive.

So, unable to sort himself out with his own contradictory statements, Langdell grabbed his shovel and began digging furiously, trying to somehow show evidence that EDGE is actually a viable software business and not just a guy with a printer and some settlement letter templates:

In attempting to provide evidence that EIM and Edge Games were making money in the UK, Langdell (along with providing an incredibly recent invoice for a company called Creative Distribution Ltd. in Croydon, but unable to remember any pertinent details about the order) offered emails to and from one Randall Copland, of his UK licensee Velocity Micro Inc. (for whom I’m only able to find a US website). In these Copland appears to reply saying of the sales figures for Edge and Gamer’s Edge products from 2006 to 2009, "The figure is way over $1m for each year".

The trouble was, when Copland was asked about this in court he said that the emails bore little in common with those that were really sent. The undoctored emails reveal a slightly different sales figure for the time period: nothing whatsoever.

With the court finding completely in favor of Future Publishing (home of Edge Magazine), the letters that form the word "edge" are back in the public domain and Langdell is left holding the tattered remains of a "business" that has — for the most part — done absolutely nothing over the last 2+ years but send out legal threats. ChaosEdge, which has been following Langdell’s every move since his lawsuit against Mobigames in 2009 (over their "infringing" app Edge), has this great rundown of everything Edge Interactive Media hasn’t done (with two sad exceptions):

  • EDGE Games have NEVER published or developed a game on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation, PSP, Xbox 360, Xbox, Wii, Gamecube, N64, Super Nintendo, DS, Gameboy Advance, Gameboy Color, Gameboy, Megadrive (Genesis) or iPhone.
  • EDGE Games operates from a mail box – The big three hardware manufacturers don’t grant the right for developers or publishers to work on their consoles without a registered office.
  • EDGE Games have NOT produced comic books
  • EDGE Games have NOT published over 750 Games (The number is actually around 74, nearly all of which were in the 1980′s)
  • EDGE Games have NOTHING to do with the magazine Edge (Future publishing)
  • EDGE Games have NO TV Crossover projects in the pipeline
  • EDGE Games DO NOT produce PC Hardware or Wii Peripherals
  • EDGE Games was NEVER SEGA of Europe (They converted and published Alien Syndrome in 1988 under licence from SEGA, that doesn’t make them anything more than a 1980′s developer/publisher)
  • EDGE Game sDO Steal peoples work from places such as Deviantart

Good luck in the future, Mr. Dr. Langdell! The world being what it is, I’m sure there’s another trolling entity out there looking for someone with your particular "skill" set. Just try to remember to keep your Windows software un-updated.

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