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Taser International, which makes electric stun guns, is suing Linden Research Inc., the owner of the Second Life virtual environment, for selling unauthorized virtual versions of its product.

The trademark infringement case claims that the online sales of virtual products are damaging the company’s reputation and hurting its sales. Second Life is “selling virtual weaponry in a fully fledged copy of plaintiff’s real ones for use in the Second Life computer simulation," the lawsuit said, adding that this is particularly harmful because the online stores also sell adult-only explicit images and drugs.

The complaint also names Linden founder and Chairman Philip Rosedale, as well as its chief executive officer, Mark Kingdon, and chief financial officer, John Zdanowski, plus third-party companies such as Virtualtrade LLC.

It is not clear whether this lawsuit is behind an announcement by Linden this week that it was setting up "Adult" and "Mature" areas that would enable people to avoid, if they chose, some of the more racy images and activities that had been Second Life's forte'.

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