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Minsky vs Linden Lab: The Vezina incident

Tateru Nino

One of the parties named in the Richard Minsky's trademark lawsuit is Victor Vezina, whom we haven't heard much about, and whose identity has been a bit mysterious. As it turns out, Victor Vezina is Victor Keegan, a technology writer for the Guardian.

Keegan started up an art gallery in in Second Life called 'SLart' in early 2007, prior to the establishment of Minsky's trademark -- however, legally it matters less who is first and more who gets the blessing of the US Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO). Juris Amat, Minsky's legal representative wrote to Linden Lab on Minsky's behalf instructing them to notify Vezina to cease and desist from use of the SLART trademark in Second Life.

Well, Linden Lab has now sort of complied. Sideways.

Keegan's SLart sign was only recently removed from Second Life without comment or communication from Linden Lab. Only when Keegan complained about the removal, was he told that "'SL' was Linden's trademark and that I was only allowed to use it when followed by a space and two generic nouns."

This would hardly seem to constitute compliance with the the orders of US District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn, except in the most oblique way. It seems that Linden Lab isn't giving any ground when it comes to the required enforcement of Richard Minsky's trademark. Certainly no mention of the SLART trademark or of the fact that they're removing the content unwillingly. In fact no notice at the time that they'd removing it at all.

Linden Lab definitely has its heels dug in on this, and you can almost smell the amount of ill-will that is being generated as the Minsky and the Lab continue to grapple over trademarks. Lawsuits aren't exactly a very fast-paced spectator sport, but they can certainly be full of interesting twists.

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