Two writers groups oppose “cocky” trademark claim


The Romance Writers of America and the Authors Guild said Thursday they have asked romance author Faleena Hopkins to "retract trademark infringement claims and cease all future claims." 

They also want an apology.

RWA voted to pay for the legal fees of author Tara Crescent, one of three people Hopkins sued last week in federal court. Crescent has least two books with "cocky" in the title. Hopkins applied for a trademark for a "series of romance novels" containing the word "cocky" and sued after Crescent refused to retitle her books.

Other defendants include author Kevin Kneupper, who has challenged Hopkins' trademark application, and Jennifer Watson, a book marketer who helped promote "Cocktales," an anthology intended to raise money for authors involved in trademark disputes. The anthology reached the Top 20 on Amazon's Kindle ebook bestseller list.

A hearing on Hopkins' request for a preliminary injunction is set for Friday in New York. Here's a link to the defendants' legal response.

The two author groups sent Hopkins a demand letter on May 16, asking her to drop the trademark request and "send our attorneys copies of her communications to Amazon and other platforms apologizing for her imprudent and improper demands."

On its website, the Authors Guild said it and RWA reached out to Amazon after several "cocky" books were pulled from the retailer, getting Amazon to restore the titles. 

"We advised Amazon about potential legal problems with the validity of the trademark, such as the fact that the term was already in wide use in the marketplace before the trademark application," the Authors Guild said. "In addition, we informed them that courts have held that using a trademark in the title of an expressive (essentially an artistic) work often does not rise to the level of infringement."

UPDATE: June 1. 9:06 a.m. Here is a link to the plaintiff's reply.