The Temporary Restraining Order For ‘Cocky’ Trademark Author Goes To Court

Ever since news dropped about the trademark of the single word “cocky,” the writing world has been watching the issue unfold via social media. Faleena Hopkins, a romance author with an extensive book series originally called The Cocker Brothers, had been granted a trademark for the term “Cocker Brothers” in relation to a romance series. Alongside this trademark, she also had two others issued for the word “cocky,” one in a stylized font, and one for use of the word itself, in any format, in use in romance titles that are a part of a series. You can read more about the origins of this issue, now being dubbed #cockygate, via this previous Inquisitr article.

Since the story broke on May 4, it has been revealed that Faleena Hopkins has been sending out cease and desist letters to authors who have used the word “cocky” in their titles — both prior to, and after, she had commenced her Cocker Brothers series. As a result of this, the Romance Authors of America (RWA) have gotten involved along with retired legal professional. Kevin Kneupper, the later of which is trying to have the trademark for the word “cocky” canceled.

Faleena Hopkins then issued legal proceedings in the form of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the following defendants: the author Tara Crescent for her usage of “cocky” in the title of two of her books, Jennifer Watson who is a publicist involved with the Cocktales Anthology, and Kevin Kneupper. If this TRO was issued, it would mean that Tara Crescent would have to pull down her cocky books from sale and so too would the Cocktales Anthology.

On June 1, the legal proceedings commenced. Hopkins wasn’t present at the hearing, however, she was represented by Christopher S. Cardillo and Jonathan Pollack. The hearing was seen before the Hon. Alvin K. Hellerstein, a judge who is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and has been involved in several high-profile cases.

In the case, lawyers for all parties attempted to establish some basis for the TRO in relation to the trademark. In the end, however, the judge decided that the argument for the trademark was “weak at best,” according to the court transcripts uploaded via Courtney Milan’s Twitter account.

“To sum up, the most important factor here as we have gone through the eight is the strength of the plaintiffs’ mark. It seems to me at this
point of the record and given the way that these titles look to be more adjectives than indications of source, that we have a weak mark.”

The judge also added, “I hold that defendant is not using the word “cocky” in a mark. Although there could be a likelihood of confusion, other factors being equal, that there is some kind of an infringement, at this point I don’t think a similarity.”

This indicates that the defendant, Tara Crescent is not trying to confuse readers into believing that her books were a part of Faleena’s Cocker Brother series.

The judge also decided to have Kevin Kneupper removed from the TRO. However, Jennifer Watson and Tara Crescent were still included.

The judge also did not grant the TRO, which means that Crescent’s work along with the Cocktales Anthology will remain for sale.

Of course, as soon as news broke that the TRO had been dismissed, the writing world took to social media to show their joy at the matter. Suzan Tisdale, a popular romance author who had previously dared Faleena Hopkins to sue her instead of authors that couldn’t afford it, issued a Facebook video explaining the court proceedings and why she was so happy with the outcome.

Other authors took to Twitter to not only to express their happiness but to point out some of the hilarious points in the day’s legal proceedings.

A further hearing has been issued in regard to this matter and is scheduled for September 7 at 10 a.m.

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