As the world of romance novels erupts with a trademark debacle, another author has thrown down the gauntlet and dared Faleena Hopkins to sue her in relation to her title, The Cocky Billionaire.
Since the beginning of May, authors who write romance novels have been watching a trademark case closely after the author, Faleena Hopkins, trademarked the word “cocky.” Her trademark covers not only the stylized word in a particular font but the absolute usage of the word in any font in a romance genre series. So, if you write a book with “cocky” in the title but it is a science fiction standalone book, you’re absolutely fine. However, if you use the word “cocky” in the title of one of your romance novels that is also a part of a series, you are opening yourself up to a violation of this trademark. You can read up more on the initial trademark issue in this previous Inquisitr article.
As soon as the trademark was confirmed, Hopkins started sending out cease and desist letters to authors who have used the word “cocky” in the titles of their books. It is reported that many of the authors, under the threat of a possibly expensive lawsuit which they couldn’t afford, immediately changed the titles of their books to comply with the cease and desist letters from Faleena. While this was considered the cheaper option, it was still at a financial loss to these authors as they not only had to change the cover art of their books along with creating a new title but all of their inside matter as well. Needless to say, if they had promotional items for the book, this was all now redundant and new stock would have to be designed and ordered to replace the old stock.
As the debacle, dubbed #cockygate, unfolded, many authors jumped to the defense of those authors affected by Faleena’s trademark. A retired legal professional also got involved as he tried to have the trademark overturned. As well as that, many authors from outside the romance genre were also keeping a close eye on the issue as the trademarked word is considered a general usage word and probably should never have been trademarked as a standalone word in the first place. And, if the trademark is upheld, it means other authors would now be able to trademark other common words. Imagine if there was a trademark on words such as “star” or “fantasy”?
During the whole process, authors have been supporting those affected by the trademark by buying books belonging to authors affected or by contributing to anthologies that have been created to raise money to support affected authors. One of these anthologies, Cocktales: The Cocky Collective, is currently sitting at No. 66 in all of the paid Kindle books on Amazon.
Faleena Hopkins responded to the advent of the “cocky” anthologies by issuing legal proceedings against the publicist for Cocktales: The Cocky Collective. In the same lawsuit, she also issued proceedings against another author, Tara Crescent, and the legal representative, Kevin Kneupper.
After this, some authors started suggesting that Hopkins was merely going after authors and those involved with the situation that were not able to financially defend themselves. After all, within the Cocktales anthology, there are multiple authors who are considered NYT, WSJ, and USA Today bestselling authors.
Now, author Suzan Tisdale has thrown down the gauntlet and openly challenged Faleena Hopkins to sue her in regard to her new book, The Cocky Billionaire, under the pen name of Pinky Haversnatch. In a Facebook video recorded on Friday, Tisdale says she is “beyond livid” that Faleena would choose to file suits against other authors in relation to the trademark issue and the fact that Hopkins now seems to be going up against those who are involved with writing parody and satire books on the incident.
She also stated that she, unlike other authors Faleena has contacted either via cease and desist letters or the upcoming lawsuits, has plenty of money and would love to see her in court to fight the issue out on an even playing field. She is also planning to hire Kevin Kneupper, another of the people Faleena has started legal proceedings against and who is fighting the trademark issue using his own funds on behalf of those who cannot afford to do it themselves.
“I won’t need to do a pro bono case,” Tisdale says in the video. “I will be able to pay for it.”
“Go ahead and sue me for writing My Cocky Billionaire. Go ahead, I dare you. So, this is an open challenge to you Miss Faleena Hopkins,” Tisdale elaborated further.
Tisdale then suggests that Faleena isn’t “brave enough” to go after some of the big-name authors who have used the word “cocky” in their titles, citing Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland’s Cocky Bastard as a prime example.
“[Faleena Hopkins], you are not brave enough to go after anybody who is bigger than you, better than you, more well known than you, and stronger than you. You choose to pick on these people who are defenseless.”
So, who is Suzan Tisdale? She writes popular 14th-century Scottish historical romance. She is also a USA Today bestselling author. As yet, Faleena Hopkins has not publicly replied to Tisdale’s challenge.
You can view Suzan Tisdale’s challenge to Faleena Hopkins, in its entirety, below.