Posted on 07/19/2018 at 10:33 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Lawyer Marc Whipple continues his translation work for us laypeople in #cockygate, after several filings became available late last week.

You can read the full thread on Twitter (warning, it’s LONG) here.

A quick rehash of the events leading up:

  • Romance author Faleena Hopkins had applied for a trademark for a “series of romance novels” containing the word “cocky.”

  • She sued fellow author Tara Crescent after Crescent refused to retitle her books, at least two of which have "cocky" in the title.

  • On June 1, a federal judge denied Hopkins’s request for a temporary restraining order to halt publication of several books using the word "cocky" in the title.

  • On June 22, lawyers for both sides sent a joint letter to the judge saying that a settlement in principle had been reached, essentially hitting “pause” on the proceedings until July 6.

So, with July 6 here and gone, here’s what happened.

Hopkins’s legal team filed a motion (which you can see here) to reinstate the case and then voluntarily dismiss it without prejudice.

Whipple, who is not involved in the case, explains that this is normal — they can’t finalize the settlement in principle, but since it wasn’t finalized by the deadline, Hopkins’s lawyers want the case to be reinstated.

That would enable them to bring the case back if the settlement falls through, though it would require them to start all over again.

The defense lawyers followed up with a response to that letter (which you can see here).

In it, they express surprise at the filing, though “not as surprised as they might be, because (the defendant’s counsel) alleges the plaintiff began breaching the settlement ALMOST IMMEDIATELY and while the defendants have honored it the whole time, plaintiffs have not,” Whipple tweeted.

They’re asking the judge to pause the proceedings again and not let the plaintiffs dismiss the case.

Whipple explains that a dismissal would actually not be a win for the defendants (D), because if the plaintiffs (P) refile, then:

D has to start all over again TOO, and in the meantime threat of refiling is hanging over D's clients heads until the statute runs. Which is, absent withdrawing the allegedly infringing goods, forever.

So rather than accept a pretty toothless victory, D obviously believes their client's best interests are served by keeping the case open and resolving the situation. This would also pressure P to negotiate in good faith to avoid blowing filing deadlines, et cetera.

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.

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: Cocky-gate, Lawsuit, Romance

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