Author Topic: Trademark, series, titles, and...yeah...lawsuits (Cockygate & ordinary-word TMs)  (Read 89482 times)  

Offline Lydniz

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Looks like she's taking heat everywhere. Her books on amazon are getting slammed and it looks like it's not just authors but readers doing it. Her days are numbered, there isn't any damage control for this. All she can do now is start again with a new pen name and hope it doesn't lead back to her.

A few "Cocky" satires have also sprung up on Amazon.

Offline AmpersandBookInteriors

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Looks like she's taking heat everywhere. Her books on amazon are getting slammed and it looks like it's not just authors but readers doing it. Her days are numbered, there isn't any damage control for this. All she can do now is start again with a new pen name and hope it doesn't lead back to her.

Mmm...yes... the self destruction has begun.


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Offline RBN

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Offline Ros_Jackson

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Goodreads lists the series under a different series name, not "The Cocky Series". So when was it first released under the latter series name?

(Edited to remove identifying information, although the cat is probably out of the bag by now).
« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 01:03:46 PM by Ros_Jackson »

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Offline Betsy the Quilter

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No, it isn't. Maybe the 1-starrer feels it's the only way she can express her disapproval of the author's tactics. Human nature, eh.

Still not appropriate. 

And not directed at your comment, Sam, but since we're discussing the one-starring, I  want to warn readers that any call to action to one-star this or any other author's books is a potentially bannable offense here on KBoards.  We've deleted one post that came close to a call to action and that member will be warned.

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Offline inconsequential

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The creator of the font used in the TM has stated that he did not give permission for it to be used in a TM:

https://twitter.com/SetSailStudios/status/992847807722729473

Offline Elizabeth Barone

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Authors should consult with an IP lawyer and get in touch with the RWA (carol.ritter@rwa.org) before changing their own books. There's a lot of misinformation going around. The best course of action is to talk to a lawyer if you think you might have an issue. The RWA is collecting info from anyone who's received a cease and desist from the author who filed the trademark. Meanwhile some authors are already changing their titles, and that might not even be necessary.

Please don't panic, call people names, etc. (My FB feed is out of control right now.) Get a consultation with an IP lawyer (they're usually free). Here's where you can find one: https://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practice/intellectual-property-law

Remember, we're all mature professionals.

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Online Atlantisatheart

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The creator of the font used in the TM has stated that he did not give permission for it to be used in a TM:

https://twitter.com/SetSailStudios/status/992847807722729473

Does that mean that the TM is now invalid opening her up to litigation from those authors who have gone to the expense of changing their books? It certainly means a payday for the designer of that font. It's just getting surreal now.

Online Becca Mills

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Looks like she's taking heat everywhere. Her books on amazon are getting slammed and it looks like it's not just authors but readers doing it. Her days are numbered, there isn't any damage control for this. All she can do now is start again with a new pen name and hope it doesn't lead back to her.

I don't buy it. A good mea culpa and some concrete moves to help those who've been damaged could repair a lot of the situation, IMO.

I mean, she perceived herself as being copied and coat-tailed in ways that felt unfair to her, right? It made her more angry than it should've, given that many successful authors experience that sort of thing, and it probably has little real effect. But whatever -- it ticked her off and she wanted it to stop. She consulted an attorney who suggested trademarking, which wasn't a bad idea, but they overreached by trademarking the word itself, not just as part of a series title and her books' branding, and then trying to get it taken out of other books' titles. She didn't think through the implications of such an act -- what romance will look like if Rosalind James goes out and trademarks "just" and Bella Andre trademarks "in love" and Crystal Kaswell trademarks "dangerous," etc., etc., until there are no more words. It's just not tenable ... obviously. But when you're angry, and you're feeling ill-used, it's hard to think through larger implications, so she didn't. But now she understands, and she apologizes. (<--suggested apology, not actual apology!)

I really do think that would go a long way.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 01:34:01 PM by Becca Mills »

Offline inconsequential

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But now she understands, and she apologizes.


Where has she apologized? On Twitter, she has mocked: https://twitter.com/FaleenaHopkins/status/992855143073943553

Offline Elizabeth Barone

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Goodreads lists the series under a different series name, not "The Cocky Series". So when was it first released under the latter series name?

(Edited to remove identifying information, although the cat is probably out of the bag by now).

As far as I can tell, according to TESS, she didn't trademark the series name, she trademarked the appearance of the word on her books for branding purposes. There's a lot of misinformation floating around. Remember, anyone can claim anything. Authors who think they might be affected need to talk to an IP lawyer.

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Online Becca Mills

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Where has she apologized? On Twitter, she has mocked: https://twitter.com/FaleenaHopkins/status/992855143073943553

Um ... I was suggesting what she should do, not quoting her?? If that's not clear, I should revise my post.

Offline MyraScott

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She "helped out with Amazon so the account wasn't shut down"?

What is it with people who claim to have a special relationship with Amazon and like to send "my lawyer says" letters... hmnn.

These tactics really are all bluff and bluster.

Offline Elizabeth Barone

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To be fair, I haven't seen her mock, belittle, or call anyone names. That's all been hearsay. She might not seem to understand exactly what a trademark is, but most of the people talking about this don't appear to, either. On the flip side, I've seen a lot of "professionals" publicly calling her some pretty nasty names.

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Offline Michaela Strong

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She's cracking jokes about how fun the mess she created is, all while sending C&D letters to authors scaring them into taking down their books. She may not be directly mocking anyone but she's certainly making a mockery of the situation.

Offline Monique

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I haven't seen this posted yet, but always insightful Courtney Milan posted a summary of events:

https://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/992868032467812352


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Offline SummerNights

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I haven't seen this posted yet, but always insightful Courtney Milan posted a summary of events:

https://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/992868032467812352

OMG, Courtney Milan wins the Internet!  ;D

Offline GeneDoucette

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I haven't seen this posted yet, but always insightful Courtney Milan posted a summary of events:

https://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/992868032467812352

This is really entertaining.

Offline Lydniz

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OMG, Courtney Milan wins the Internet!  ;D

She knows how to deliver a punchline.

Offline ........

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Fairly astonishing that she used a licensed font to write "Cocky" but neither she nor the lawyer involved bothered to check the font licensing terms which specifically forbid trademarks being created using the font. The font designer has confirmed this.

This is the equivalent of using Comic Sans and trademarking without bothering first to check if you can.

There are so many genres out there that if similar trademarks were granted would be decimated in terms of titles.

I'd certainly be interested to know what information was handed over to obtain the trademark. Is there any obligation to advise that other romance titles with Cocky in the title were published prior to hers? What are the obligations on the applicant?


Offline J.J. Fitch

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I haven't seen this posted yet, but always insightful Courtney Milan posted a summary of events:

https://twitter.com/courtneymilan/status/992868032467812352

This is hilarious!

But seriously - thank you to the Kboards admin for allowing us to hold a discussion on the topic. Regardless of the author or specific word, this precedent affects us all. 

Online Usedtoposthere

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I suspect Ms. Hopkins is about to get her very own cease & desist letter.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Just epic.

Very sorry for all the chaos and disruption to so many innocent authors, however. I know how upsetting that sort of thing can be.

Offline Day Leitao

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But seriously - thank you to the Kboards admin for allowing us to hold a discussion on the topic. Regardless of the author or specific word, this precedent affects us all.

Indeed. Imagine if someone trademarks kingdom, star, magic, or something like that. I'm thinking about sci-fi and fantasy here. Lots of common words.

This could set a very dangerous precedent.

I understand that the TM for a common work can be contested, but by the time all this mess is solved, a lot of damage can be done.

From what I read, this author has claimed copyright infringement (which she shouldn't be doing, if it's about a TM) and at least one author has had a paperback pulled from Amazon. So she's hurting authors.

Now ok, on a quick Amazon search, I did find some novels with titles and typography that looked like her books. I wouldn't know who came first, though, and plus many romance covers have similar font styles. So I'm not sure if there are books copying hers, or it it's just a genre thing.

I don't know, has someone thought of trademarking the bare chested males?

And you know, what about in sci-fi, all those covers with the spaceship, a planet on the background and similar fonts?  A lot of them look the same.

In UF, it's also similar fonts and colors, and to make matters worse, many designers are using the same stock. Titles are not that different either.

So I think even the claim that there are authors copying her with the title, cover style and font choices is a little complicated. And I think it's a problematic precedent for all genres.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 03:43:05 PM by Day Leitao »

Offline Ann in Arlington

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There's a whole thread in the book corner here with book covers that all have the same girl in a blue dress looking over her shoulder.

Just sayin'.


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Online Becca Mills

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From what I read, this author has claimed copyright infringement (which she shouldn't be doing, if it's about a TM)

I may not have a grasp on all the nuances of this situation, but my impression is that the copyright issue is separate and different. If so, let's be careful not to conflate the two.

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