The book world has been in an uproar recently after an author legally trademarked a common usage word. The word “cocky” is now trademarked for use in a romance book series called The Cocker Brothers. Because of this trademark, not only in the series title but, more specifically, on the word “cocky,” any author who uses the word cocky in a book title, or novel they have in a romance series, are infringing on that trademark and are open to legal proceedings against them by the trademark author, Faleena Hopkins.
As soon as the book world found out about this trademark, authors responded en masse against Hopkins. One group, the Cocky Collective, formed and invited authors to submit manuscripts for their anthology, to be titled, Cocktales: The Cockiest Anthology. All proceeds from the sale of this book would be donated to those affected by Faleena’s trademark. Romance Writers of America then got involved after Amazon started taking down any romance books that contained the word “cocky.” Then, retired legal professional, Kevin Kneupper, became involved in the legal side of things and issued legal proceedings to have the trademark overturned.
While things have been quiet of late, with legal proceedings in regard to the potential cancelation of the trademark not coming up until 2019, things picked up yesterday after Faleena Hopkins issued legal proceedings against Tara Crescent, Jennifer Watson, and Kevin Kneupper. According to court documents published via Kneupper’s Twitter account, these proceedings will commence in court on Friday, June 1.
In the documents, Faleena is claiming, among other things, a loss of income as a result of those mentioned creating a campaign against her on social media. She is issuing preliminary injunctions against Tara Crescent and Jennifer Watson. Crescent is an author who has a book series that utilizes the word “cocky” in her titles. Watson is a publicist and member of the Cocky Collective. Hopkins also aims to “dismiss with prejudice the pending Petition for Cancellation brought by the defendant, Kevin Kneupper.”
In addition to this dispute, besides Hopkins trademarking a common usage word, it has come to light that another part of her trademark, in relation to the font used, might not be legally binding. Set Sail Studios owns the rights to the font used in the trademark. However, a part of their contract states that the font cannot be trademarked. The owner initially decided against drawing their own legal proceedings against Hopkins, due to the legal costs involved. However, it seems they have now issued a cease and desist letter to Faleena Hopkins in relation to her usage of their font.
So, what does this all mean?
Basically, Hopkins is seeking a restraining order against Tara Crescent. She is also claiming infringement by her and Watson against her trademark of the word “cocky.” In regard to Kneupper, she is aiming to revoke his petition to have her trademark canceled, so she can continue to claim ownership of the word “cocky.”
In addition, if Set Sail Studios do issue a cease and desist letter to Hopkins and it is successful, one part of her trademark will now be null and void. However, the trademark for word usage, in any font, will likely still stand.
The documents issued are lengthy, but for those who are potentially affected by this trademark battle, it is well worth reading through the legal proceedings. It does seem unlikely Hopkins can legally uphold her trademark because the word “cocky” is deemed common usage. However, the courts will have to decide this as the battle begins in June. It is likely this case will be drawn out, however, as there are various parts to Hopkins claims and each will likely be looked at individually.