What is a trademark anyway? Trademarks are brand features, or words or symbols that distinguish certain products or services from those offered by others. Trademarks can be word marks or brand names like Second Life®, Google®, or Gucci®, or they can be logos like the Second Life Eye-in-Hand logo or the Nike Swoosh logo. A trademark represents that a particular source stands behind the product or service and is taking responsibility for its quality.
What are Linden Lab's trademarks? Our trademarks include our word marks or brand names like Second Life® (both in text and in our distinctive font), Second Life Grid™, SL™, Linden™, LindeX™, and Linden Lab®. They also include our logos like the Second Life Eye-in-Hand logo, the Second Life Grid logo, the inSL Cube logo, and the Linden Lab Hexagon logo. You can see a list of our trademarks here.
Why does Linden Lab care about trademarks? And why should I care? Our trademarks are extremely valuable--both for you and for us. When you see a product or service using the Second Life brand name or our Eye-in-Hand logo, you should have confidence that Linden Lab is offering the product or service either directly or under a license with certain quality controls. That's the value of our trademarks. They help you identify the products and services we stand behind.
What's the Second Life® Brand Center? Our Brand Center explains how residents can associate with the Second Life brand to promote their involvement in the Second Life world. It features our inSL Logo Program, which provides a community logo for Second Life residents. It describes how residents can show the Second Life association of their business or organization by using "SL" or "inSL" with their business or organization name, product or service name, or Internet domain name. And, it provides guidelines for proper use of our trademarks like our Second Life brand name and Eye-in-Hand logo so that they retain their value as reliable indicators of our products and services.
I want to talk about my business in the Second Life world. How should I refer to Linden Lab's trademarks? It's OK to refer to our products and services using our trademarks in plain text in an informational or descriptive way. For example, if you're a software developer, it's OK to say that your software program is "for the Second Life® world." We explain this more fully in Proper Reference to Linden Lab's Brand Names in Text.
Can I use the Second Life Eye-in-Hand logo? No, it's not OK to use our logos--including the Second Life Eye-in-Hand logo--without our written permission. For more on this, see Unauthorized Uses of Linden Lab's Trademarks.
If you seek written permission to use the Second Life Eye-in-Hand logo, please be aware that we're not likely to allow it except in limited cases that are strategic for our business. It's nothing personal. It's just what we need to do to preserve the value of our logo and our brand. For information on requesting special permission, see below.
Why do you permit journalists and media outlets to use the Second Life Eye-in-Hand logo? We've allowed journalists and media outlets to use the Second Life Eye-in-Hand logo in published articles, blog entries, and news programs specifically about the Second Life virtual world. Our permission is subject to our Guidelines and Terms and Conditions designed to protect the logo's integrity and ensure that it's used only for journalism in a way that doesn't suggest that Linden Lab endorses the views expressed, or is otherwise affiliated with the journalist or media outlet. We believe that this kind of journalistic use is valuable for the community and have provided this license for journalists and media outlets to make clear that we permit the use.
How can I easily show that my business is in the Second Life world?
• You can sign up for the inSL Logo Program. The inSL logo is designed for easy recognition of Second Life residents and their contributions to the Second Life world. When using the logo to promote your activities, be sure to follow the Guidelines for Using the inSL Logo. The logo's effectiveness and value for the community depends on consistent and proper use.
• You can use the words "SL" or "inSL" with your business or organization name, product or service name, or Internet domain name, subject to our Guidelines and Terms and Conditions. Unlike all of our other trademarks, Linden Lab allows certain use of "SL" and "inSL" with your brand names to show their association with the Second Life world. For more on this, see our License To Use SL™ or inSL™. Except as specifically provided there, however, it is not OK to use Linden Lab's trademarks in your business, organization, product, service, Internet domain, or other brand names. And, it's never OK to register as a trademark or business name any name that incorporates a Linden Lab trademark, including (but not limited to) "SL," "inSL," "Second Life," and our Eye-in-Hand logo.
• You can explain in smaller, less prominent text next to or below your business name that it is "in" or "for" "the Second Life® world." For example: SAVVY SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT, INC. For the Second Life® world.
I've been using a Linden Lab trademark in a way that I didn't realize was unauthorized. What should I do? Our Guidelines for Using Linden Lab's Trademarks are intended to help you better understand what trademark uses are and are not OK. If you've realized that a use you're making is not OK, then change your use to comply with the Trademark Guidelines.
Starting on March 25, 2008, you will have ninety (90) days — or until June 23, 2008 — to make appropriate, voluntary changes to any use of Linden Lab's trademarks that does not comply with the Trademark Guidelines. You must make changes during this transition period even if you have a license request pending with us. Without a written agreement signed by Linden Lab, you do not have permission to use our trademarks in any way that the Trademark Guidelines do not allow. See below for information on requesting special permission.
• Logos. Remove any uses of the Second Life Eye-in-Hand logo and any other Linden Lab logo from your website, promotional materials, and other locations, unless you qualify for one of the following limited exceptions: a. You're a journalist or media outlet using the Second Life Eye-in-Hand logo under our Guidelines and Terms for including the logo in published articles, blog entries, and news programs specifically about the Second Life world; b. You're a Second Life resident using the inSL logo under our Guidelines and Terms for displaying this community logo; or c. You have a written agreement signed by Linden Lab allowing you to use the logo, and your use complies with the guidelines and terms provided in that agreement. • Domain Names. If you have a domain name that includes a Linden Lab trademark (such as http://secondlifesoftware.com), obtain a new domain name that does not use our trademarks, or that complies with our Guidelines and Terms for using "SL" or "inSL" with a domain name. Use the 90-day transition period to educate your customers about your new domain name. You can contact us about the original domain name for further guidance on what to do. • Brand Names. Your brand names include the names of your business, organization, product, service, and Internet domain. If any of these names includes a Linden Lab trademark, change the name to one that does not use our trademarks, or to one that complies with our Guidelines and Terms for using "SL" or "inSL" with a brand name. Use the 90-day transition period to educate your customers about your new brand name.
• Products. If you have products or merchandise items (like T-shirts, mugs, and jewelry) featuring a Linden Lab trademark, you must immediately stop making and distributing them. This applies to items for sale and for free. You may request a limited license to dispose of any remaining inventory that you may have. However, we cannot guarantee that we will grant your request, and if we do not, you must destroy your remaining inventory. For information on requesting a license, see below.
• Notice and Disclaimer. If you're promoting a business or organization, product or service, or publication, work, or event related to the Second Life world, include in your promotional materials a reasonably prominent trademark notice and disclaimer. For example, "Second Life is a trademark of Linden Research, Inc. Savvy Software Development, Inc. is not affiliated with or sponsored by Linden Research."
• Trademark Symbol. If you're in the United States and refer to a Linden Lab brand name in text (e.g., "Second Life"), use the appropriate trademark symbol (® or ™) for your first or most prominent reference to the brand name. This chart shows our brand names and the proper symbol for each. Outside the United States, use a trademark notice instead, for example, "Second Life is a trademark of Linden Research, Inc." For more information, see Proper Reference to Linden Lab's Brand Names in Text.
• Generic Nouns. If you refer to a Linden Lab brand name, for at least your first reference, follow it with an appropriate generic noun. For example, "the Second Life® virtual world" or "the Second Life® world." Here are some suggested generic nouns for our brand names.
Does following the Trademark Guidelines mean my use is OK? Our goal is for the Trademark Guidelines to help you use our trademarks properly. We've done our best to address how you may seek to use a Linden Lab trademark. However, we can't anticipate all the ways in which our trademarks may be used. So if you're following the Trademark Guidelines, you're probably OK, but we can't make any promises. If we become aware of uses we didn't anticipate, we may update the Trademark Guidelines to address them.
I did my best to comply with the Trademark Guidelines. If you think I didn't do enough, what will happen? If we become aware of an unauthorized use of our trademarks, we'll get in touch with you to let you know what changes need to be made. If you made a good-faith effort during the 90-day transition period, it'll be no big deal. We'll just ask you to make some additional changes, and once they're made, the problem will be solved.
If we contact you, please don't take it personally. We may be huge fans of what you're doing in the Second Life world; however, as a trademark owner, we're obligated to make sure our trademarks are used properly to preserve their value. So if you hear from us, that's all we're doing.
I have special permission to use a Linden Lab trademark in a separate written agreement signed by Linden Lab. Do I still need to follow the Trademark Guidelines? If you have a signed agreement with Linden Lab that gives special permission to use a Linden Lab trademark, you must follow the guidelines and terms in your agreement for using that trademark. For trademark uses not covered by the agreement, and for all other Linden Lab trademarks, you must follow the Trademark Guidelines.
inSL LOGO PROGRAM
I'd like to use the inSL logo to promote my event in the Second Life world. Do I have to pay to use the inSL logo? No, our License to use the inSL logo is "royalty-free," which means that it's free of charge.
Do I have to sign up with Linden Lab to use the inSL logo? Yes, you need to sign up for the inSL Logo Program to use the logo. After signing up, you'll be able to download the inSL logo files for use subject to our Guidelines.
Please be aware that the inSL Logo Program is a one-year program. To continue after your initial year, you'll need to confirm your renewal. Before your year is up, though, we'll send you a reminder notice about renewing.
Do the Guidelines for Using the inSL Logo apply to everyone? Yes, the Guidelines apply to anyone who uses the inSL logo. That means individuals as well as businesses and organizations. When signing up for the inSL Logo Program, be sure to indicate whether you're signing up for personal use or use by your company or organization. The sign-up form has a toggle field to indicate this. If you intend to make both personal and business use of the logo, you should sign up from separate personal and business accounts.
Can I alter the inSL logo? No, you may not make any changes to the inSL logo except proportional resizing. The logo is designed for easy recognition of Second Life residents and their contributions to the Second Life world. The logo's effectiveness and value for the community depends on your displaying it consistently and properly.
Can I display the inSL logo alongside a logo for another virtual world if I offer services in both? Yes, as long as the inSL logo is the same size and given equal prominence as the logo for the other virtual world. Also be sure to observe the clear space and other requirements of the Guidelines for Using the inSL Logo.
Why are there restrictions on the kinds of content with which I can display the inSL logo? How will I know if my content falls within a prohibited category? The Guidelines for Using the inSL Logo limit the materials with which the logo may be shown to ensure that the logo is for all ages and audiences consistent with our Community Standards. Just like content that's broadly viewable in the Second Life world, content displayed with the inSL logo must adhere to General guidelines.
The General standard is one that's familiar to Second Life residents. For example, if you design avatar skins, you may present the inSL logo next to an image of your skins from the shoulders up. In locations showing the full avatar skins, do not use the inSL logo. It's that easy.
If you're ever unsure whether certain content falls within a prohibited category in the Guidelines, it's best to display the inSL logo elsewhere with content that you have no doubts about.
LICENSE TO USE SL™ OR inSL™
I would like to use "SL" or "inSL" with my business name to show that my business is in the Second Life world. Do I have to pay to use "SL" or "inSL" in this way?
Why is it that I'm supposed to use "SL" or "inSL" with my own word mark or with a name using at least two generic nouns? Do I have to? And, what are word marks and generic nouns anyway? The Guidelines for Using SL™ or inSL™ are designed to allow you to show the association of your brand name (meaning the name of your business, organization, product, service, or Internet domain) with the Second Life world. If you have a word mark, which is a trademark or service mark that's a word like Dell® or Toyota®, you may use "SL" or "inSL" in combination with it to indicate your presence in, or product or service for, the Second Life world. For example, if you owned the Dell word mark, you could use "Dell SL" or "Dell inSL" and register the domain name Dell-SL.com or Dell-inSL.com.
If you don't have a word mark, you may indicate your presence in, or product or service for, the Second Life world by combining "SL" or "inSL" with a name that uses at least two generic nouns. A "generic noun" is a common noun (describing a general class of things like "software," "clothing," or "architecture") and not a proper noun (indicating unique entities like "China," "New York," or "Mars"), and not a trademark or brand name. For example, if you sell clothing for Second Life avatars, you could call your in-world business "SL Chic Clothing Boutique" or "Chic Clothing Boutique inSL" and register the domain name SL-ChicClothingBoutique.com or ChicClothingBoutique-inSL.com. "Clothing" and "Boutique" are each generic nouns.
Although these Guidelines may seem somewhat technical, they're designed to reduce possible confusion about your relationship with Linden Lab, and specifically whether you are, or have been endorsed by us as, an "official" Second Life business, organization, product, service, or website. Following the Guidelines is critical to ensuring that others aren't mistaken or misled.
Of course, you do not need to use our trademarks "SL" or "inSL" with any name for your business, organization, product, service, or Internet domain. You can always use your own brand name without our trademarks entirely. However, if you want to use "SL" or "inSL," you must comply with the Guidelines and Terms and Conditions for Using SL™ or inSL™.
How will I know if my business name, when used with "SL" or "inSL," is confusingly similar to a Linden Lab trademark, domain name, product, or service?Even if you use your own word mark or name with two or more generic nouns, you must also make sure that the resulting name with "SL" or "inSL" is not confusingly similar to a Linden Lab trademark, domain name, product, or service. Our trademarks are listed here, and our products and services include our virtual world platform, tools, and scripting language, our virtual currency services, virtual land services, in-world content, and informational resources in-world, on our website, or anywhere else. The Guidelines illustrate this rule with specific examples of names that are confusingly similar and are not OK.
If you're using generic nouns, you're more likely to avoid a confusingly similar name if you choose a noun combination that's distinctive, rather than just descriptive of your business, product, or service. For example, do not use descriptive names like "SL Avatar Clothing" or "Avatar Skin inSL," which could be confused with the default avatar clothing and skin provided by Linden Lab upon registration. Instead, use something more distinctive like "SL Avatar Indispensables," "Avatar Radiance inSL," or "SL Style Points." You get the idea. The more fanciful or arbitrary, the better.
Why can't I register my business name combined with "SL" or "inSL" as a trademark or a business name?
The Guidelines prohibit registration (as a trademark, service mark or business or organization name) of any name combined with "SL" or "inSL." You cannot register the name in full because it includes our trademarks "SL" or "inSL," which represent our business and product, the Second Life virtual world.
However, you may seek registration of the portion that is your name and does not include "SL" or "inSL." Before choosing any generic noun combination for your name, you may wish to consult an attorney for legal advice on registering it as a trademark or business name. Linden Lab cannot provide you with that advice.
Why are there restrictions on the kinds of businesses and activities with which I can associate a business name with "SL" or "inSL"? How will I know if my business or activity falls within a prohibited category?
The Guidelines for Using SL™ or inSL™ limit how "SL" and "inSL" may be used in order to preserve the value of those trademarks for Linden Lab and the Second Life community. Like the inSL logo, "SL" or "inSL" may not be used with names for businesses, organizations, products, services, websites, or activities that are not suitable for a General rating or are inconsistent with our Terms of Service or Community Standards. Again, the General standard is one that's familiar to the Second Life community. However, if you're uncertain whether your business or activity falls within a prohibited category in the Guidelines, you should use your own brand names without "SL" or "inSL" or any Linden Lab trademarks.
Please be aware that we're unlikely to grant special requests to use our trademarks in ways not allowed in the Second Life Brand Center, except in limited cases that are strategic for our business. Although we'd like to accommodate all the permission requests we receive from residents who'd like to show their Second Life enthusiasm on their websites and elsewhere, we have to turn down many of them both to preserve the value of our trademarks and because we have finite licensing resources. If we receive requests for a particular use that we believe would be valuable for the community, instead of granting individual requests, we may create a special licensing program like we have with the inSL Logo Program, the License To Use SL™ and inSL™, and the License for Press Use of the Second Life Eye-in-Hand Logo.
To request special permission, please provide all of the following information in an email to our Licensing Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Licensing requests with incomplete information may be refused simply because we can't figure out what you want. Please provide:
Your contact information (name, title, organization, address, email, phone, fax); • Which Linden Lab trademark(s) you're asking to use; • A brief description of the requested use, including: • Whether you're requesting use by your organization or you personally; • Where or in what specific materials you're requesting use (e.g., on your website (if so, include the URL), in a book, film, or event materials (if so, include the title and any author and publisher)); • In what media you're requesting use (e.g., digital, print, TV, film, or broadcast); • When or on what date(s) you're requesting use; • In what geographies and languages you're requesting use; and • Any other information that you believe to be relevant.
Please submit your request in English. We're unable to review requests in other languages at this time.
Because we receive a huge number of requests, please plan that it will take at least 4 weeks for us to respond. A pending licensing request does not give you any special permission. You must have a written agreement signed by Linden Lab in order to use any Linden Lab trademark in a way that our Second Life Brand Center does not allow.
How can I let Linden Lab know about a trademark use that I observed that doesn't comply with the guidelines in the Second Life Brand Center?
Because Linden Lab's trademarks are valuable for you and for us as symbols of our products and services, you may want to let us know if you spot uses of our trademarks that you believe are unauthorized. When we grant special permission to use our trademarks, we generally require inclusion of a notice that the use is with our permission. If this notice doesn't accompany a use that's inconsistent with our guidelines in the Second Life Brand Center, the use may be unauthorized.
Which Linden Lab trademark(s) you observed; and a brief description of the use, including:
• The location of the use (with a URL, an in-world region name and coordinates, or if possible, an image or screen capture); • Any information you have about the person making the use; and • Any other information that you believe to be relevant.
Your vigilance is much appreciated by Linden Lab and the Second Life community, which relies on our trademarks like the Second Life brand name and Eye-in-Hand logo to know which products and services we stand behind.
After reading all of these FAQs, I still have a question about a Linden Lab trademark. Whom should I contact with my question?
If you still have questions, you may write us at email@example.com, but we can't guarantee that we'll be able to respond personally to all the emails we receive. If your question is urgent, you should contact a trademark attorney.
We encourage and will prioritize review of questions about uses of our trademarks that you believe the Second Life Brand Center has not addressed sufficiently. We may not respond personally to each and every one of these questions, but rest assured that your question is being considered. If we believe that further guidance is warranted, we may update the Second Life Brand Center to address your question.
We will also prioritize review and response to questions about domain names that incorporate a Linden Lab trademark (such as http://secondlifesoftware.com). If you're transitioning to a new domain name, you may contact us about the original domain name for further guidance on what to do. Please include the name of your Internet domain in the subject line of your email so that it's readily apparent that you're writing about a domain name.
Do not expect a response if you're asking whether your website content or other materials are OK under the guidelines in the Second Life Brand Center. We do not have the ability to review every resident's materials, and if we did it just for some residents, it'd be unfair to the others for whom we can't. We've tried to make our guidelines extremely clear, providing lots of specific examples so that you don't need to be a lawyer to understand the guidelines. However, if you seek an opinion that you're OK under the guidelines, we can't provide that, and you should speak to a trademark attorney.