Ms. Zagato and her Never 30 trademark on US Patent and Trademark Office website
In my informal survey of content creators last week, only 13% had registered their work with real world government agencies. But according to MadamG Zagato, owner of Never 30, a popular in-world fashion brand, getting a real world trademark for her products has been invaluable to protecting them.
"I initially decided to trademark N30 because of the amount of keyword abuse I found," she tells me. (Competitors were adding unauthorized references to her products in their search descriptions.) "It was very easy to trademark my brand names. I simply used the USPTO website and completed the online process." That was easy; waiting for approval was not: "It took seven months to receive the registration numbers for both my Never 30 and my N30 trademarks."
But once she did have that official trademark in hand, it became an important part of protecting her Second Life business:
"I provided it to Linden Lab with a request to remove the brand name from the locations that were not authorized to use it," she continues. "Having a trademark doesn't impact or influence a DMCA complaint. However, having a trademark does help with having the brand name removed from keywords, parcel titles, parcel descriptions, object titles and descriptions, as well as XStreetSL item listing text. If you have a trademark, you'll need to fax Linden Lab a letter requesting action being sure to include the trademark serial and registration number."
Her advice for other content creators? "The satisfaction you will get from officially owning your brand name far outweighs the grief that comes from any number of alt businesses anyone can launch in competition against you," says Ms. Zagato. "Essentially your trademark stands out."