Cybernet Systems v. Edge Games Documents

By: Derek Yu

On: July 18th, 2009

Edge Magazine Comparison

To the Tim Langdell/Edge Games page I’ve added links to documents pertaining to the Cybernet Systems v. Edge Games case (which is still ongoing, despite the fact that Cybernet’s Edge of Extinction has been inactive since 2002). These documents were obtained through PACER, a service that provides online access to court records. Anyone can get an account and the data is considered public record.

Among these documents are emails sent by Tim to Cybernet, as well as various exhibits submitted to the court by both parties. One of these exhibits, shown above right, is a really curious thing – to me it looks like a very amateurish mock-up of an Edge Magazine cover (the real issue from July 2004 is shown on the left). I’m wondering what it’s actually supposed to be, because in “Answer to Complaint, Counter-Claim, and Affirmative Defenses,” it states that the exhibit is a sample “of the EDGE brand as used in connection with computer hardware in various formats.”

The rest of my opinions are hidden behind this jump:

Tim, of course, uses his connections with the game industry (including the IGDA) to help prove his case, although he fails to mention how those connections were made. Is it becoming clearer how this has all worked out for him? If I were to put together a satirical timeline of Tim’s history in the game industry, it might look something like this:

Tim Langdell, Edge Games

80’s – Tim Langdell registers the trademark “Edge” and humanity dies a little. Various unwitting developers produce games for Edge Games and some of them even get paid. Tim eventually flees moves to America, the land of lawsuits opportunity.

90’s – Edge Games produces games about Snoopy and Garfield, the last creative properties it will not obtain through litigation. Using the credentials Tim built on the bloody, flayed backs of honest developers, Tim enters the entertainment industry and joins the boards of various organizations, such as the AIAS and the IGDA, and tarnishes their names with his very presence. Meanwhile, there are many legal threats to be made, and many more “licensees” to be had!

00’s – With the dawning of a new millennium, Tim’s throne of skulls grows ever bigger. Each new creator he coerces and each new organization stupid enough to have him as a member becomes another “exhibit” he can wield in court. But in his hubris he makes a vital mistake by editing his own Wikipedia entry, which ends up reading like a biography of Charlemagne as written by a hyperactive graduate student.

And the rest, as they say, would be internet history. But hey, like I’ve said before, keep in mind that these are just my opinions.

The documents, however, are very real and are now available for you to look at (pdf format). And IGDA members, it looks like you may have some recourse. Put your membership to good use!

Thanks to Brandon at Offworld for tracking down the July 2004 issue of Edge Magazine.

  • Anthony Flack

    I agree that the timeline was probably going too far.

    Derek’s work on compiling and publicising the Langdell dossier is definitely valuable, and I’ve really admired the way he’s kept fact and opinion seperate when making his reports. He’s certainly been more even-handed and professional about it than I would have managed.

    So keep up the good work, Derek, but please try to hold on to the moral high ground here. The simple truth is far more damning on its own.

  • the2bears

    I’m all for more stories on this creep. The more daylight he’s exposed to the better.


  • Derek


    I’m glad the discussion is still going. Re-reading my timeline after some rest… other than the colorful language I used (“bloody, flayed backs,” “throne of skulls”), I actually don’t feel like I painted a portrait of Tim that is inaccurate to how I see it. I genuinely believe that Tim has built his credentials on abusive business practices and has used those credentials in litigation to obtain more credentials, and so on. And if you look at his gameography (RobF’s list is the most detailed thus far), it’s possible that the Snoopy and Garfield games really were the last games that his company worked on directly.

    No, Tim is not a demon from hell or even in the Top 100 Worst People in the World list… but he’s still scum, in my opinion, and in his 30 years in the game industry he has really hurt developers (and by doing so, hurt the industry). Especially for an indie dev, an encounter with someone like Tim can be enough to quit altogether (as was the case with Ian&Mic, if you are to believe them). It very much stifles innovation in the entire community when even one person has their creative rights taken away undeservedly. It’s possible that Tim has done a lot more than that… and thrived from it!

    But you’re right that the straight facts speak for themselves, so in the future I’ll leave out my commentary unless I feel like I really have something more to add. I don’t want to bring down the discussion or have the content of my opinions take precedent over the real issues. Thanks for the feedback – I mean it!

  • Derek

    Here’s another quote from Ian&Mic that was dug up by Lurk:

    “Around this time, we also had a long court battle with a games publisher called The Edge (owned by Tim Langdell) who’s only ambition in life was to rip off as many programmers, musicians and graphic artists in every way he could. He used every delay tactic known to man to resist payment, so we decided justice will prevail using legal aid and try to reclaim our earnings through the courts. We eventually won the court case with his company but we did not receive the money that was owed to us or the Maniacs of Noise for the music as he cowardly left for America. But we got some comfort that he ceased trading in the UK through our efforts, with their reputation in tatters. In those last months we would spend days and nights without sleep for weeks on end writing routines and games that had tight deadlines. There was no fun in games development anymore so it was the right time for us to move on.”

    I believe Ian&Mic were well-respected developers in the C64 demo scene.

  • Tim Langdell

    Lately, there has been a lot of negative publicity about Edge Games and myself.

    I just want to say up-front that all this has sprung from a basic misunderstanding. To wit, I have been taken out of context.

    It was never my intention to gouge hard-working ‘indie’ developers by straining the laws on trademarking common English words. I never wanted to falsify my wikipedia entry or attempt to trick people by making ludicrous claims about my impact on the independent gaming scene, the gaming industry as a whole, the fields of science, arts or human history, or reality in general.

    I cannot in all honesty accept the blame for all these wrong-doings. The truth is, the Devil made me do it. He stood behind me and stuck that pronged stick-thingy of his up my rear port until I almost flushed my buffer. What else could I do? What would you do? I am not evil. Please, believe me! I AM NOT EVIL!!

  • showka

    I disagree with those saying Derek’s post is doing more harm that good, though I do think he’s hiding the actual reasons he thinks Tim Lengdell is a bad guy behind a bit too much vitriol.

    Frankly, people like this deserve all the negative publicity they can get. The guy sounds like a real asshat, and the only people who are going to take his side because they think the attacks are mean are either idiots or other asshats who are themselves reacting to the backlash, which would be recursive in nature and inherently dumb. What I’m saying is if anyone reads this and can’t understand why Derek feels so strongly what they think probably doesn’t matter.

  • Malasada

    Future Publishing received partial assignment to the “Edge” mark as of 28 Oct 2005. That’s probably why Langdell chose the July 2004 issue – he still owned the rights at that time.

    Oh yeah, and Tim’s the biggest douche of the millennium.

  • Tazi
  • Tazi

    Sorry, bad link, try this one instead:

  • Alex Whiteside

    It’s hilarious to read his previous trademark registrations. His fine work registering “EDGY” and the like right after people say they’ll use it is not new. You can see he’s made TM registrations targetted at specific victims all the way back in the 1990s. My favourite is the shameless 1995 trademark claim for the name of a new comic. Marvel obligingly rolled over and paid him a bunch of money for the pleasure of having their own trademark infringed!