For members of the Romance community seeing the word cocky brings strong feelings. While we don’t read many romance books or keep up with the community happenings, something big is brewing that may set a precedent for all authors. We wanted to take a moment to spread awareness on the scandal, and provide links for further information.
An author has received a trademark on the word Cocky in a font that she doesn’t own the rights to TM. She has proceeded to send cease and desist letters to authors old and new with the word Cocky in their title. She is also advocating for authors every where to start doing this. Can you imagine if this actually became a movement? Authors trademarking words, and banning them from use in the titles within their genre? While I personally don’t think what she has done will hold up in court, it’s scary to think about the ramifications of the idea.
It is shocking that someone could actually trademark a word and attempt to enforce it on a genre, in any title no matter the font or other words involved. People within the Romance community are working to put a stop to it, but they need the entire author communities help.
Here are ways that you can find out more information about this case and what is being done to stop it:
- If you get a Cease and Desist letter from this women, or anyone for that matter contact a lawyer. Also, there is a difference between a person sending them and a lawyer sending them. Don’t automatically assume you are in the wrong and change your work. Research it and seek council. If the person sending the notice is in the wrong they open themselves up to cases against them.
- Read more about this case here.
- An author, Kevin Kneupper, has filed a legal petition against the trademark, he has posted it for everyone to read here. You can discover his books here, (SiFi / Horror / Dystopian) and feel free to support him by purchasing his books as he is taking on this legal battle out of his own pocket. Follow the story on twitter here.
- DO NOT resort to attacking the author that has filed this trademark. Refrain from name calling, leaving negative reviews on her books or any other petty form of bullying. We are better than this. This case needs to be fought legally, not via harassment.
- Spread the message! Whether you like this authors work or not, it is important to keep the freedom of word use top of mind. Abusing Trademarks is wrong and needs to be addressed.
- #freethecocky and #cockygate are the hashtags to search if you would like more information.
- Here is a summary via Twitter of the story.