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May 30, 2009

Tim Langdell, his Trademark and the IGDA

Filed under: Thoughts and Rants — Tom B @ 12:57 pm

This is a response to the recent dust up over, IGDA Board member Tim Langdell and the EDGE Trademark . I am speaking now for myself and NOT on behalf of the IGDA.

I call that a hatchet jobs aimed at Tim L. and at the IGDA because the author, the Editor of the Gamasutra web site didn’t do what I feel is the necessary due diligence before posting. I think this matter is obviously a bit more complex that Simon’s article presented it. I feel it was irresponsible of Simon to not ask everyone involved for their comments prior to poast, as is the standard practice of journalists.

This dispute relates to a company that believes that is it enforcing its Trademark (See below). While you or I may not agree with those laws related to Trademarks, they are what they are. Moreover, the IGDA represents the individuals who make games, not the companies that make them. So, although no one is more committed to independent developers than I am, this is a legal dispute between two companies regarding an alleged Trademark infringement. So, while I anyone’s effort to fight for the little guy, these matters are for the court of law, not for a court of public opinion.

As someone who has litigated intellectual property cases, I can tell you that these cases are never as simple as they might seem to a lay person, especially when one only has access to one side of the story. I suspect that if you had spend 20 odd years building a Trademark to brand your studio and games, and paid to have a Trademark registered, you might also feel compelled to enforce your trade name. BTW, if you do not enforce your Trademark, you may lose it. So you may want to also take that into account in your analysis!

This is hardly a matter for the IGDA either…Board members do not lose their legal rights when elected to the Board. I personally do not think that lobbying the IGDA to intervene or even take sides in a legitimate legal disputes not the right approach, even if one of the parties to that dispute is a member of the BoD!. If Tim’s position is correct (and I do not have enough information to determine that issue one way of the other) you are recommending that the IGDA support a party who has infringed a legal and enforceable Trademark. That’s just nutty!

I do not see that as a viable position for the organization under any circumstances. In any case, I do not see how Tim L. vigorously enforcing his legal rights as contrary to the code of ethics in any way.

Again, I am speaking now for myself and NOT on behalf of the IGDA or as an IGDA Board member. But as me, Tom Buscaglia, The Game Attorney.

Tom B

Word Mark EDGE
Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: computer game software, computer game programs, video game software, video game programs, computer game software that may be downloaded from a global computer network, video game software that may be downloaded from a global computer network, computer game cartridges to be used in computer game machines adapted for use with television receivers, video game cartridges, computers, computer accessories, plug-in boards, peripheral devices, flash cards, set-top boxes, cable modems, mobile game devices, handheld game devices, video game consoles, video game assessories, video game peripherals, augmented reality games, virtual reality games, games designed for use with mobile entertainment devices. FIRST USE: 19840601. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19840601
Standard Characters Claimed
Serial Number 78807479
Filing Date February 5, 2006
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Prior Registrations 1853705;2219837;7502940
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE


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