Petition to Linden Lab on the Policy of Trademark Enforcement

Second Life®, by contrast, never enjoyed the same level of promotion by Linden. It relied on the “Fansite Toolkit” as the primary — and most successful! — way of “viral marketing”, effectively crowdsourcing the co-promotion of the Second Life® virtual world by its users. And these, obviously, were very eager to do so — since all participants in the virtual world, Linden and their users, benefit tremendously from this cooperative promotion. “Your World, Your Imagination”, Linden’s motto for their Second Life® virtual world platform, was taken to an extreme, and perhaps unprecedented, level in the history of technology dissemination.

Linden, however, now fears (probably very correctly) that the usage of Second Life® might fall under “genericide“.
  

Recent developments

Possibly advised by their legal advisers, Linden announced here and here that they would start as of now to aggressively discourage the usage of all Linden-related registered trademarks, thus effectively reverting its four-year old policy of co-promotion through marketing crowdsourcing. The major issue with the current population of Second Life® users is that dozens of thousands of products and services were created within compliance with the old guidelines, and there is no provision made by Linden to “grandfather” existing services now currently in existence. Almost all have no legal protection that will allow them to contest any of Linden’s claims in court to shut their services down if they receive Linden’s Cease & Desist letters. Linden’s claim to their trademarks is, naturally, factually correct, unambiguous, and entirely within Linden’s rights.

There is, however, one aspect of Linden’s claims where we feel the Guidelines are overshooting the legitimate intent of Linden Research in preserving their trademarked brands and preventing their dilution. We refer to the section “Proper Reference to Linden Lab’s Brand Names in Text“, which basically outlines how any mention of terms trademarked by Linden has to be written any text published. Among other things, it claims to make sure the brand names are only ever used with an “appropriate generic noun” of which Linden provides a list, and that “as often as possible”, down to capitalisation, spelling, elisions and contractions. In effect, this precludes any usage of trademarked terms in text in most of the forms current nowadays, and dictates to commentators, bloggers and critics how and what to write when referring to trademarked terms.

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