Kevin Alderman, kingpin of an adult entertainment empire in the Second Life online world, has filed a lawsuit against another Second Life avatar for violating his trademark.
Alderman's company, Eros, is claiming that the avatar known as Volkov Catteneo has violated the trademark on an Eros device known as the Sex Gen, a machine that manipulates avatars into various positions. According to the suit, Volkov Catteneo is making copies of the unit and selling them for profit.
One difficulty with the suit at this point is that Alderman, known in Second Life as "Stroker Serpentine," doesn't know Volkov Catteneo's true identity. Thus, as part of the suit, he has asked a judge to approve subpoenas for the makers of Second Life and PayPal, demanding they reveal the avatar's real-life information.
"A lot of people copy me, copy my work, copy my ideas," Alderman said. "Because it's an anonymous platform where you're an avatar cartoon character, as opposed to a real-life person, people think they can operate with impunity."
"We're doing the best we can to protect our product, our income, our intellectual property," he continued. "We're hoping that this is going to send a message to quote-unquote hackers and anti-establishment types that just because it's a virtual platform, we're not going to sit idly by and let you rip us off."
Alderman said he sells about 1,000 Sex Gens a year, for the equivalent of about $40 each. He also recently sold a virtual representation of Amsterdam he created through eBay, for $50,000.