According to Virtually Blind, Second Life players FlipperPA Peregrine (aka Tim Allen) and Michael Eckstein have opened up a virtual Second Life Patent and Trademark Office (SLPTO) within the video game. This comes on the heels of six Second Life gamers suing Rase Kenzo (aka Thomas Simon) for stealing their intellectual property. The allegations range from Unfair Competition, to Copyright Infringement, to Civil Conspiracy. The designs allegedly stolen include clothing, shoes and beds.
The SLPTO does not have any immediate plans for generating income, its owners have wisely stepped back and decided to let Second Life denizens choose how the SLPTO can best be utilized. Without legal teeth to back up the program, however, I doubt the SLPTO will solve many problems. Even if Second Life owner Linden Lab decides to support the new venture through enforcement, it is difficult to see how intellectual property registration, standing alone, gets anyone anywhere.
I mean I love intellectual property. I could read about it for hours. Methinks, however, most gamers, even Second Life gamers, might find intellectual property protection self study more repulsive than physiologically accurate avatars. Better protection of intellectual property merely begets better schemes of circumvention. As Second Life intellectual property issues become more complex and involve greater sums of money, the assistance of a First Life Intellectual Property attorney will become a necessity, rather than a luxury.