Stephen S. Wu-- SL: Legal Writer,, (408) 573-5737, 50 W. San Fernando St., Ste. 750, San Jose, CA 95113

Linden Research and Richard Minsky Agree on a Preliminary Injunction in their Second Life Trademark Infringement Case

Last week, Richard Minsky and Linden Research agreed to convert the temporary restraining order (TRO) in place in their trademark infringement case to a preliminary injunction. Mr. Minsky had sued Linden Research, two of its principals, and an anonymous avatar named Victor Vezina claiming infringement of his federally registered trademark SLART. It is now up to Judge Lawrence E. Kahn to sign the proposed order converting the TRO to a preliminary injunction. I expect Judge Kahn to sign the order, since judges typically abide by the parties’ wishes on pretrial proceedings and encourage collaboration and settlement. Once that order is in place, it will likely remain in effect until the case is resolved.
The effect of the parties’ stipulation is to shift the battle between the parties from the preliminary injunction stage to later proceedings. Before this stipulation, it had appeared that Linden Research hoped to force a showdown with Mr. Minsky at the preliminary injunction stage. Evidently, Linden Research does not believe that the TRO is so onerous, it cannot live with its procedures for the rest of the time the case is pending.

Linden Research may also be planning to set the stage for a “summary judgment” motion, which is a procedure by which Linden Research can win the case before a trial takes place. Typically, summary judgment in favor of a defendant is warranted where the plaintiff simply does not have enough evidence to support its case, after having had the opportunity to gather all the evidence it can through the “discovery” process. Also, where the facts are not in dispute, the district judge may be able to rule on the case, because an interpretation of law will resolve the case. In other cases, summary judgment is appropriate because the law forecloses the kind of relief sought by the plaintiff regardless of the facts, although many times, these kinds of cases are dismissed at an earlier stage.

Copies of the most recent filings in the Minsky case appear on the Minsky v. Linden Research documents page.