"Cocky" romance novelist embarks on a second career as a trademark troll: will romance writing fall from grace?


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/09/faleena-hopkins.html


This is quite a nice breakdown of the relevant law:

Mr Kneupper’s petition is here:

and would seem to deal with the matter more than adequately :slight_smile:

Ironically, it appears that if she’d stuck to calling it the “Cocker Brothers series”, she could have trademarked away with abandon.

Of course that wouldn’t have had the same trademark trollery potential.


Smut literature has it’s place in history restored.


Exactly my thought as I’ve watched the whole thing unfold and eating popcorn. All she needed to do was trademark “Cocky Brothers.” But no, that wasn’t enough for Faleena, who stole her title from those that preceded hers (Such as “Cocky Cage Fighters”) as well as their cover designs (everyone pretty much copies everyone here). No, she felt she should own a single common word, and go after everyone else using it, even if they had no clue who she was.

But it’s fun to watch her mental gyrations (bordering on insane breakdown), especially in light of the fact she trademarked the word AND the particular font she uses on her titles to write that word… and oops, the font author provided terms of agreement that say “you may not trademark any use of this font.”

Pass me the butter…


You like her work that much? :grinning:


I tend to feel sorry for people who try this stuff.

They usually see people doing it elsewhere and then get some dodgy advice from dubious ‘advisers’ who claim to tell them all about ‘monetizing’ and ‘branding’.

Then they get overenthusiastic and dig themselves into a hole where they feel they have no choice but to fight anyone who even looks at them funny.


You know, I always knew at the root of it that Gates was a weenie.


True, but the situation is not analogous: Gates was not complaining about people using the name BASIC, but of stealing his program. Whether that was justified is a different argument. It seems irrelevant to the trademark issue.


Yes - its the different argument I’m reacting to, not the trademark.


Trolls gonna troll, but those titles and covers are hilarious. I hope she makes a mint - the legitimate way.


The Hamilton example made me giggle, because I was just reading something about people buying tickets to local productions of Hamlet and then getting mad that it’s not Hamilton and they can’t get a refund.


Wait - are you still talking about the copyright troll? Or are you talking about ALL trolls? 'Cuz it sounds like ALL trolls!


I was following this on an author’s blog I read, and what she apparently did was trademark the word “Cocky” when written in a specific font. A font that she doesn’t have the rights to, and can’t trademark. That alone should be enough to invalidate her claim.


I have a different opinion - as a consumer and not a lawyer. As @doctorow pointed out in the article, I don’t want to go see Hamilton and end up seeing a play about George Hamilton (The Birth of the Tan). Likewise, if I purchase several books from a writer and I notice the tiles are “Cocky [something]” and I go to purchase my next one and I grab “Cocky Trolls”, with a similar look and feel, then I would think I was getting the same writer. As a matter of fact, I thought it was a bit trolly when @doctorow published several stories that used the same titles as other well known stories. I get it that he was making a point, but if I google I, Robot, why should I have to check carefully if it is the Asimov version or the Doctorow version. The second author could not think of his own title? It seems kind of trolly to the reader to create this kind of confusion. As I said, I am not a lawyer but my understanding is that these laws exist, in part, to avoid confusion in the mind of the buyer. If the romance author has created a series called “Cocky [something]”, why enable other writers to benefit off the confusion created when they use the same title?


So is overconfidence really such a turn-on that all these writers want to write about it?


Well, it certainly beats whining and generally looking like 3rd-graders scare you.




Reading a page from the other team’s playbook.


Asimov took the title “I, Robot” from a book by Eando Binder (without permission).


If your book choices are so indistinguishable that you select the books by title without checking the author, I don’t think there is any way of distinguishing them that wouldn’t lead to confusion on your part.

It’s not exactly that careful a check that’s required, is it?

More generally, you could obtain some sort of legal protection for your works based on cocky brothers getting up to romantic escapades by having a less generic title for your series, by having a more distinctive ‘get-up’ for your books and you know, actually having a recognizable style and brand.

This is really the heart of it. The author hasn’t created a series that is (in law) sufficiently ‘their own’ that other people could benefit from being confused with it.

They’ve used a generic word in a generic way, as many other people have done before and since, and are trying to claim that only they are entitled to use it in that way ever again.

That’s not what trademarks are for.

As for why the title of something like “I, Robot” can’t be trademarked, see here: