Richard Minsky, Second Life artist and owner of the trademark "SLART," has sued Linden Labs, Philip Rosedale (head of LL), Mitch Kapor (head of the board for LL), and an avator named Victor Vezina, claiming trademark infringement, TM dilution, and fraud. Apparently, Victor Vezina is using the SLART trademark without Minsky's approval and after LL would do nothing to protect his mark, he filed suit. For now, Minsky's claims are just claims...but the implications about TM enforcement in SL are huge. If he can win here, what will stop all of the other companies with valid TMs from suing LL for not removing infringing material?
SLART, a Sleeping Fart
Another interesting part was LL's reaction of trying to get Minsky to drop the rights to the mark by offering perks, such as a feature in the SL magazine. LL holds the mark to SL Art, which is different enough from SLART to warrant a unique TM. They were hoping to fold Minsky's mark into their own, but he refused.
Why not make the case that the mark is generic? Many people refer to art in SL as SLART, so it seems unfair for one user to hold dominion over the word (USPTO just cannot keep up!). I know that for many, SL is their livelihood and protecting their IP there is of the utmost importance, but this seems a bit ridiculous. And, I would love to hear the justification for the $1000/day "injury"...