As the Second Life Journalism Police, I’m afraid it’s time for me to arrest myself, because in an earlier post today (which has been edited to remove the section in question), I posted a discussion of Richard Minsky’s registration of the SLART® trademark that turns out to have some significant errors. What made it extra ironic was that in the same post, I complained about an article elsewhere that wasn’t sure of its information. Well, that article certainly had *me* beat in the accuracy department.
Fortunately for me, Prokofy Neva noticed the error and posted a concise, helpful message describing the problem.
What I said in the other post was that Mr. Minsky should know better than to be trying to use a trademark (“SLART”) that incorporates *another* trademark (“SL”). Frankly, I still think it’s ridiculous that someone would try to register a trademark like “SL Art”, partly because it’s a common sense description of something that is not limited to Mr. Minsky’s possessions and partly because it incorporates someone else’s trade name. I don’t have any legal training on this matter; it just seems silly to me. But then, it also seemed silly that Linden Lab would try trademarking two letters that could stand for a lot of things, but it seems a little less silly to me now that I’ve looked up the trademark on the United States Patent and Trademark Office web site. It turns out first of all that when you register a trademark, you only reference it for particular purposes. For instance, someone could register “Kraft” for foods and someone else for paper. Registrations for “SL”? At least a couple of dozen! But no prior registrations referring to a 3-D virtual world, so Linden Lab is clear.
Anyway, looking up the trademark registration demonstrated what Prokofy said: Mr. Minsky applied for the SLART trademark before Linden Lab applied for the SL trademark. That doesn’t mean the SLART trademark registration made sense or should have been approved, especially since apparently he made the claim in the application that the “SL” in “SLART” didn’t stand for “Second Life”. But it does mean I was wrong to suggest he was trying to build a trademark on top of an existing trademark.
So sorry again for spreading incorrect information. I still think Mr. Minsky should stop suing people for using “SLART”, and I suspect his efforts are ultimately doomed and will just cost a bunch of people a bunch of money (but maybe not Mr. Minksy, who’s representing himself – though a judge advised him to retain counsel in the most recent round of things). Oh well: lawyers’ kids have to eat too, right?
^^^\ Kate /^^^