On a bit of a tangent to the battle between SLART's Richard Minsky and Linden Lab over the SLART trademark (which we will be getting back to, as there have been interesting developments there), we're going to take a few minutes to look at a rather interesting development surrounding the 'SL' trademark.
As we wrote previously, the 'SL' trademark is not a registered trademark in the USA, and the registration process was started almost three months after Minsky commenced the process for his SLART trademark. Linden Lab's 'SL' trademark has now reached an interesting stage.
It has been published for opposition. Let's look at what that means ...
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Basically, as of Tuesday 16 September, there is a 30 day period for parties to file opposition notices to the trademark prior to the USPTO (the US Patent and Trademark office) deciding whether to grant or deny 'SL' as a registered trademark to Linden Lab.
"The mark of the application identified appears to be entitled to registration. The mark will, in accordance with Section 12(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946, as amended, be published in the Official Gazette on the date indicated above [16 Sept 2008] for the purpose of opposition by any person who believes he will be damaged by the registration of the mark. If no opposition is filed within the time specified by Section 13(a) of the Statute or by rules 2.101 or 2.102 of the Trademark Rules, the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks may issue a notice of allowance pursuant to section 13(b) of the Statute." -- from the USPTO.
Parties who feel that the mark would be damaging, cause confusion or be otherwise invalid by, for example, being 'merely descriptive' rather than uniquely identifying the originator of goods and services; or by being somehow generic. Opposition based on descriptive use or genericity can be rather tricky, unless you've got a good case.
Damage -- that is costs or other difficulties -- that arise from allowing the registration of the mark are the most straightforward to demonstrate.
So, there are 30 days to either file a Notice of Opposition, or a Request to Extend Time to Oppose with the USPTO. We will be interested to see if anyone does -- there are a few parties who could do so.