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SLart trademark unfounded & Minsky joins the conversation | VintFalken.com
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VintFalken.com

SLart trademark unfounded & Minsky joins the conversation

January 25, 2008 6:40 pm

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Yep. Richard Minsky blogged a response to ‘a blogger’s accusations on trademarking SLart. But first, I want to do a quick summary of a very interesting article that appeared on Virtually Blind.

SLart trademark is ‘unfounded’

SLart - trademark given by error

Thayer Preece - a new guest writer on Benjamin Duranske’s blog - has taken a more thorough look at the SLart trademark issue, and comes to 4 main conclusions:

  1. As it is a descriptive term, SLart should never have been allowed to be trademarked in the first place: ‘When Minsky filed his application for SLART, the trademark examiner assigned to the case actually did issue a refusal based on descriptiveness‘.
  2. Minsky protested to that refusal of his SLart trademark application with incorrect arguments, but still he got the trademark: ‘… it looks like the trademark examiner simply dropped the ball on this one.
  3. As SLart is trademarked now, the SLart community is screwed. Three things that we may consider:
    1. Comply with his demands, whether reasonable or not.‘ Thayer Preece includes a minor warning to this option: ‘If you take this route, however, you may be giving up rights that you actually have, as well as strengthening his mark.
    2. Refusing to cease use of the mark. In this case, it puts the burden on him to take action. If the alleged infringer refuses to stop using the mark, Minsky has to either take legal action, or allow the use to continue.’
    3. Petition the USPTO to cancel the mark, if they can prove that it was registered improperly — in this case, because the mark is descriptive and therefore should not have been registered.
  4. Thayer Preece also notes that the mark - SLart - includes an abbreviation of “Second Life” — a registered trademark of Linden Lab. The Second Life trademark is also used profusely throughout the SLART websites and magazine, even appearing in the websites and magazine’s subtitle. Richard Minsky may claim as he does not only cover Second Life art, that the SL does not stand for ‘Second Life’, but on his website he separates the SL from the ART by using a different colour, which clearly makes it SL ART.

And now on to my reply to Richard Minsky’s reply…

From: ‘a blogger’ To: ‘R. Minsky’ Subject: SLart

I beseech you to ignore the ignorant claims of people who are hiding behind aliases as they slur my real name with false accusations.
R. Minsky, Januari 24, in ‘Infringement of the SLART™ Trademark’

One should always admire people that succeed to write down three false statements in one sentence:

  1. As is written about on Virtually Blind, the fact that Richard Minsky had no right on ‘SLart’ as a trademark in the first place is not a false claim. Neither is my accusation of Minsky sending out cease and desist letters, and offering a license for the trademark - which he should not own in the first place - in exchange for ‘a small fee’.
  2. Although Richard Minsky chooses to refer to me with the alias ‘a blogger’, I am not hiding behind any: either you apply some basic tekkie skills and do a whois on the vintfalken.com domain, only to find out my RL name and my RL address, or you may just click the ‘About’ page here, to see a glimpse of my human.
  3. Richard Minsky trademarked the ‘SLart’ word, so I write about Richard Minsky, not Artworld Market. It is also Richard Minsky who send out the cease and desist letter to Rezzable. As for slurring and insulting, I only called Minsky a SLass. Following Minsky’s reasoning that SLart is not a descriptive term for Second Life Art, as there is no separation between the SL and the ART, SLass is not a descriptive term for a Second Life Ass. Hence I did not call Minsky an ass. The real definition of SLass lays close to what - Minsky in his trademark application claims - is the real definition of Slart.

… the USPTO published it for opposition in August of 2007. There was no opposition.
R. Minsky, January 24, in ‘Infringement of the SLART™ Trademark’

Indeed. Who would have thought that we had to look out for someone trademarking SLart? As it was not supposed to be allowed to trademark. Isn’t there a rule or something, that you need to inform the people you are planning to send cease and desist letters to, that you’re planning on trademarking it? :d

SLART™ is helping artists in SL achieve recognition for their work. The time that I am spending dealing with this controversy can better be used to help artists in SL get exposure that they do not pay me for.
R. Minsky, January 24, in ‘Infringement of the SLART™ Trademark’

‘… get exposure that they do not pay me for.’ Aargh! Really, Richard Minsky makes it sound as like he was forced to trademark SLart and that he’s the only one interesting in helping out SLartists. Oh, and in the meantime, the fact that he does not charge artists to mention them, makes that he may own the SLart. Geeh. I dislike villains that play victim. Want to spend your - and my - time more useful, Mr. Minsky? Drop the SLart trademark and concentrate more on your SLart & SLartists.

12 Responses to “SLart trademark unfounded & Minsky joins the conversation”

Ganymedes Costagravas wrote a comment on January 25, 2008
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Ah, I got reference on this by some girl who also works for the magazine, and sent it a brief copy of the notecard to everybody I know.
I personally completely agree “the series of letters we can’t use anymore” should never have gotten trademarked at all, and will support in any way that I can to get the trademark down.
Is there a petition, or something else?

Vint Falken wrote a comment on January 25, 2008
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Ah, check the Virtually Blind blog. We’re at 260 USD. (Need 300 USD and a lawyer that will work pro bono in exchange for Second Life Art. :d)

Ganymedes Costagravas wrote a comment on January 26, 2008
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something non-financial dear, you wouldnt believe the financial state I’ll be in untill 1st of March (when I get my first paycheck of my new job)

Daman Tenk wrote a comment on January 26, 2008
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Don’t have a credit card. But if it’s possible to send you money by Belgian bank transfer (overschrijving) and have you forward it, I’ll send some. Between 25 and 50 € depending on how much I got left end of the month.

Vint Falken wrote a comment on January 26, 2008
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Daman, thank you. If we ever walk that path, I’ll make sure to IM you. The problem is we need to find that pro bono lawyer first, or we’ll need a lot more people that are willing to toss in a few euro’s.

@Gany, it’s ok. You may come over and give me a relaxing foot rub to get rid of the frustrations surrounding the SLart stuff? ;)

Sofian wrote a comment on January 26, 2008
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My modest artistic contribution: http://secondlifesofian.blogspot.com/2008/01/slartwork.html
How much do you think I owe to Mr. Minsky under royalties on SLART?
Well I forgot the ™ stuff, I think I will be in great trouble:(
If you need 10$ please tell me, perhaps I can give it to you in L$ equivalent?

Gidge wrote a comment on January 26, 2008
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What a SLasshat.

Good grief. Someone find that guy something to do.

Vint Falken wrote a comment on January 29, 2008
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@Sofian. Awesome SLart! Really! Not sure if to put it under graphic design or literature, though! ;)

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[…] pay-card and stealing content to look more interesting. So.. euhm.. can someone prep me a cease and desist letter for copyright infringement to send to them? […]

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[…] far for the background on the history of our brand new brand name. As this brand is used as an accusation, against something we think is utterly absurd, we felt like doing SL + artyfarty + ‘add ‘S’ to stress the fart part’ was […]

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[…] this - once again - renders the SLart trademark claim void. Especially with this added: Your SL Associated Name must use “SL” or […]

Janet Hill wrote a comment on December 4, 2008
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I don’t find it all that surprising that the trademark application was approved by the USPTO, since the term “SLART” is a coined term with no meaning.

Care to comment?