Posted on May 25, 2018 at 5:06 PM by Jeffrey Bruner
Romance author Faleena Hopkins filed for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order on Friday in federal court over a challenge of Hopkins' application to trademark the word "cocky."
Author Kevin Kneupper, who filed the challenge, posted a copy of the draft complaint on Dropbox. Also named in the legal filing are Jennifer Watson, a book publicist, and romance author Tara Crescent, who has at least two books with "cocky" in the title.
The website for federal court in the Southern District of New York confirms the lawsuit was filed Friday afternoon. The legal complaint says that "books are often impulse purchase based upon a publication's cover or title. Bare-chested males and extremely attractive females traverses across the covers of many romance novels."
The lawsuit also says that "there is no particular consumer sophistication attached to likely purchasers of the books at issue, which are geared to a wide segment of the American public."
Hopkins applied for the "cocky" trademark to be used in a series of books and sent demands to some authors that they retitle their books. Kneupper filed a challenge with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Such challenges can often take 12 to 18 months to be resolved.
In protest, several authors have published parodies and anthologies with the word "cocky" in the title. One anthology, "Cocktales," hit the Amazon Top 20 on Saturday.
Hopkins has said a number of one-star reviews for her books were posted on Amazon after the controversy erupted.
A petition asking the patent office to cancel the trademark now has more than 26,000 signatures.
Authors may want to keep up to date about trademarks by following @cockybot on Twitter. The bot searches for new applications to register trademarks that may be relevant to fiction authors and then tweets about them.
UPDATE (4:01 p.m. Saturday): Here's a link to the full 120-page complaint on Dropbox.
UPDATE (6:00 p.m. Saturday): Set Sail Studios, designer of the font used in the trademark application, says he has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Hopkins.
UPDATE (7:15 p.m. Saturday): Lawyer Marc Whipple, whose practice specializes in patents, trademarks, and copyrights, said he does not believe Hopkins has a strong claim to the trademark. "I don't know of any trademark attorneys, with the possible exception of Mr. Cardillo (Hopkins' attorney) who have a different opinion on that score," he said. "In my opinion, this lawsuit is a dog, and not the cute kind or even the kind so ugly it's cute."
UPDATE 5:09 p.m. May 31): Author Courtney Milan has posted a copy of the defendants' joint memo in opposition to preliminary injunction & temporary restraining order here.
Categories: Today in Books