Hey, horror writers or even writers in general, is your book not selling well? Is the competition too much? Are there books that seem to be out performing yours? Well guess what? How about you trademark a common word or phrase used in about 90% of them and FORCE them to OFF the platform.
That’s what Faleena Hopkins did. She trademarked the word Cocky. On April 17, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a registration certificate to Trademark Reg. No. 5447836, for “COCKY,” for the following goods: In IC 009: A series of downloadable e-books in the field of romance. IC 016: A series of books in the field of romance. Unlike the previous registration, this is a standard character mark registration.
But wait, I thought Cocky was a pretty common word, after all Han Solo used it, so shouldn’t Disney own the trademark? I mean, if they don’t then why should any body, right? Well, let’s unpack this.
A trademark identifies a particular good or service to consumers, and a common word can be used if it can be demonstrated that it is UNIQUE to that good or service. With that in mind, Faleena Hopkins was not the first romance writer to use the word Cocky as a title, and the word is not unique to her. In fact, she did not start using the word Cocky until AFTER she got the patent. It’s not about who gets the patent first, it’s about who used it first.
But wait, there’s more.
You can’t copyright a title of a book. You can get a trademark, if it’s something that is demonstrated to be associated with your good or service. Take Magic School Bus for example. Everyone knows Magic School Bus, but no one knows a particular brand as Cocky.
So, if you’re thinking this couldn’t possibly hold up in court, then you are right. But that does not matter at the moment, because Captain Dick Head Faleena Hopkins is telling Amazon she owns a trademark and forcing books to be taken down, forcing authors to CHANGE THEIR NAME! The trademark is in use in a series of books, not for her name or anyone’s name. Yet, Amazon doesn’t give a damn. Hopkins has played the game and is burning down her competitors one by one.
But, there is good news.
The Romance Writers of America, an industry group, is allegedly also looking into this matter. They will probably provide a centralized response. Author Liliana Hart reports that the RWA requests that people who are contacted by Ms. Hopkins or her attorneys contact Carol Ritter of the RWA at this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Retired IP litigator and author Kevin Kneupper has filed a Petition for Cancellation of the “COCKY” standard character mark. Link to his filing here: https://twitter.com/kneupperwriter/status/993359859071381505. The petition will now be considered in due course by the Trademark Office. We should not expect to hear anything for a few weeks, and the matter could take months to resolve. But in the meantime the registration stands and the risks remain.
If you get a cease and desist letter or any other form of legal communication, you may find my “HELP, I JUST GOT A LEGAL THING!” post useful. Click here to read it.
She will get reamed, I’m sure of it. The puta has it coming. But think of the copycats. Imagine some horror writer trademarked the word horror and started being a massive dick.