(Washington, D.C., July 24, 2008) – Banner & Witcoff Ltd., one of the largest law firms in the United States dedicated solely to the practice of intellectual property law, is pleased to announce they have secured a favorable settlement on behalf of its client regarding a dispute in Second Life regarding ownership of regions of virtual land, and associated intellectual property. Second Life is an online virtual world, owned by Linden Research, Inc., and created by its millions of residents around the world.
The land in dispute is Sailor’s Cove, a collection of twenty-one regions (private islands) within the virtual world of Second Life. Sailor’s Cove was developed by three parties and designed as a waterfront community that allows avatars to purchase land, participate in virtual yachting and sailing events, and become active in the community of residents of Sailor’s Cove.
The property and ownership dispute was between Patrick Leavitt, owner of record of Sailor’s Cove with Linden Research, Inc., and Izabella Bentham and Tasha Kostolany. While not owners of record with Linden Research, Inc., Bentham and Kostolany were each publicly acknowledged within Sailor’s Cove as “Owner and Sailor’s Cove Partner,” and were instrumental in the development and success of Sailor’s Cove. Patrick Leavitt had subsequently asserted sole ownership of Sailor’s Cove.
Ross A. Dannenberg, partner at Banner & Witcoff, represented Bentham and Kostolany. Dannenberg successfully avoided litigation and secured financial compensation for Bentham’s and Kostolany’s contributions to Sailor’s Cove. Dannenberg states “while Second Life may be a virtual world, the intellectual property is real, the contracts are real, and residents are still subject to real world laws.”
Dannenberg is one of several attorneys at Banner & Witcoff that specializes in protecting intellectual property rights for clients in the video game, virtual world, and computer industries. Collectively, Banner & Witcoff attorneys have decades of experience counseling clients and litigating cases involving computers, video gaming and virtual worlds, and electronic arts. Please visit our website at www.bannerwitcoff.com for more information regarding Ross Dannenberg and Banner & Witcoff.
*Please note: to protect individual privacy, all parties involved in the case are referred to by their Second Life avatar name.
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