Taser International has decided it wants to try life on the other end of a lawsuit for a change and has therefore sued Linden Lab, the creator of the online world Second Life, for trademark infringement resulting from the unauthorized sale of virtual stun guns.
Linden Lab is causing harm to Taser's reputation by "selling virtual weaponry in a fully fledged copy of plaintiff's real ones for use in the Second Life computer simulation," according to the complaint. The suit names Linden Lab as a defendant along with various current and former executives in the company as well as third-party companies Virtuatrade LLC and XStreet SL, and seeks damages in excess of $75,000. The infringement is especially harmful, Taser alleges, because the game's online stores that sell the virtual Tasers also deal in "pornographic content."
"All of the defendants that sell virtual weaponry like plaintiff's real ones, under the mark Taser for use in the Second Life programs and grids, also sell adult-only explicit images and scenes," the company said.
But New World Notes has questioned the basis of the lawsuit, claiming that XStreet SL has no items for sale under the Taser name. The closest device listed on the site is called an NLSD, for "non-lethal stun device," but the Taser name only comes up in disclaimer noting that the company is not affiliated with NLSD. However, a couple of BDSM sex toys for sale in the XStreet SL "Uncensored" area also mention the brand name, which may be what earned Taser's ire.
Taser designs and builds "less lethal" weapons for use in law enforcement and military environments, but as the use of its products have become increasingly widespread critics contend that police forces have become prone to using them unnecessarily and that the weapons have caused numerous deaths. Civilian ownership of Taser weapons is prohibited in many countries, although in the U.S. they can be legally carried and used in most states. Taser also markets a line of weapons for use by private citizens.
Source: , via Bloomberg