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Minsky vs Linden Lab: Linden Lab responds, asks court to okay banning

Tateru Nino

Well, not 'banning', per se -- the term isn't exactly a meaningful one in a Second Life context -- Linden Lab is asking for the court to approve its termination of Minsky's account as a part of a general package of relief.

As you may recall, Linden Lab and Minsky have been duking it out over trademarks: Minsky with his registered SLART trademark, and Linden Lab with its unregistered SL trademark. Now, Linden Lab doesn't normally bother with getting court-approval for terminating an account, yet they have asked for it in this instance.

Likely they're worried that if they followed their normal procedure, certain parts of the Second Life Terms of Service would fall back under court scrutiny again -- and it did not fare at all well the last time that happened.

'Linden seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief restraining Minsky's infringement, a declaration that Linden is entitled to terminate Minsky's access to Linden's online services, treble monetary damages, attorneys fees and related relief,' among other things, including a jury trial for any facts remaining in dispute at the end of all of this fencing.

Linden Lab's answers are pretty much what you'd expect, although it seems that the majority of the responses essentially are "Linden is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations in Paragraph __, and on that basis denies the allegations therein."

It occurs so often that you can easily sing along. Granted, it all feels more than a little evasive. However, this is generally the way things happen. Neither side is generally very keen on allowing the other any advantage, or anything that might be used against them.

For most of the rest, it forms a blanket denial of Minsky's SLART trademark, claiming that it and the registration of it are invalid, that Minsky deceived the USPTO, and this little gem: "Plaintiff's claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the terms of his agreement with Linden."

Basically, that having agreed to the Second Life Terms of Service, Minsky has no right to the claims or relief that he is seeking -- which drags the Terms of Service straight back into the eye of the court again.

So, for the most part we seem to be at that awkward stage where both parties are calling each-other liars, and the number of facts-in-dispute are not showing signs of diminishing at any great rate. That seems to aim towards a very long lawsuit (and an extremely profitable one for everyone except Linden Lab and Minsky) or a settlement. Quite which, remains to be seen.

[thanks, Virtually Blind]

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