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WTFery: Trademark on the word "Cocky" in romance

Well, here we go.

Authors, publishers, cover designers, and really, anyone in the…world should care about this.

The Story:

Many of you already know this, but a romance author has trademarked the word “cocky,” both as its specialized font, but also the word itself (i.e. a wordmark).

Please don’t tell me she can’t: she has. It’s a done deal, was approved May 1.

Although titles cannot usually be trademarked (or copyrighted), one author who contacted the USPTO was told that a “likelihood of confusion clause” would probably apply, allowing them to not only apply the trademark to a SERIES titles, but BOOK titles too. 

This is an incredibly unsettling precedent, that someone can be granted the exclusive right to a COMMON USE word. Additionally, a word already used on a plethora existing book titles in the genre. 

This is insane. If other authors begin trademarking common use words–oh, say, “warrior” or “duke”–we will be left with nothing but prepositions in our titles. 

Equally important: this does not seem like a move designed to protect her own brand. 

It feels like a move to suppress competition.

That’s not what trademarks are for.

She is in the process of issuing cease & desist letters to other romance authors, claiming they must change their titles, or they will be sued and they will owe her all their earnings.

She has indicated that this is “no big deal,” and should only take the authors “one day” to do.

Um…no.

We’ll see what happens.

 

For your continued reading pleasure: 

http://www.pajiba.com/think_pieces/cocky-writer-romance-author-faleena-hopkins-trademarks-cocky-and-tries-to-shut-down-others-using-the-word.php

http://legalinspiration.com/?p=503

And/or, you can follow #cockygate, #freecocky, and similar threads on Twitter.

 

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