#Cockygate – WTF? The summation.

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You’ve probably been hearing about #cockygate the past couple of weeks and might be wondering WTF is that?

Long story short:

A fairly newbie writer (Faleena Hopkins) decided she was going to trademark a common word, “cocky,” and then started going after other writers who’d used it in their book titles. Despite the fact that this word is a COMMON WORD that has been in existence for over 100 years, and other writers had already used it in book titles and series names BEFORE she did. Then she started sending cease and desist (C&D) letters written by HER (not her “attorney”) to other writers, and basically being a dick to them, which in some cases cost writers a LOT of money because of lost BookBub promotions, lost revenues, money lost in expenses in trying to get covers changed, etc.

EVEN BOOKS WRITTEN BEFORE SHE EVER TRADEMARKED THE WORD.

No, she shouldn’t have been able to do that in the first fucking place. It slipped through the cracks, and that sometimes happens.

Yes, she’s a fucking douchenozzle for doing it.

Yes, it’s already being legally challenged by a writer who is a retired IP (intellectual property) attorney, and who has also enlisted the pro bono help of a top-notch IP attorney team to fight it. It also appears she perhaps wasn’t completely forthcoming in her trademark filing about first usage of the word or common usage of it. Which might get it cancelled as a fraudulent filing.

Related: Some other douchenozzle is trying to trademark “rebellion.” Which…I’m pretty sure Disney (Star Wars franchise, anyone?) will have something to say about that.

Then she also made a REALLY crazy-ass video, posted it on Facebook, then received MASSIVE blowback from that (not exactly a shocker) and apparently took down her Facebook page. She is still on Twitter from what I understand, and completely unrepentant and playing the victim, boo-hoo-I’m-being-bullied card (despite the fact she was sending bogus C&D letters to other authors about all this).

OH, and Amazon started whacking ANY reviews that contained the word “cocky,” even reviews for other books and books NOT within the romance genre. #lawofuntendedconsequencesofbeingacockydouchenozzle

And the RWA has gotten involved.

So…there’s the gist. And it doesn’t just impact romance writers–it impacts creators of content. What if someone tried to trademark “highlander” or “duke” or “the”?

You cannot just trademark words you didn’t make up.

Had she trademarked her SERIES name (which she’d apparently changed several times anyway before trademarking “cocky”) that would have been different and appropriate. But not just the word.

Also, apparently she trademarked a stylistic version…made with a font whose T&C does not ALLOW for that particular usage.

Um…yeah. #writerfail #gottoococky

Here are some more in-depth blog posts about the topic to help get you fully up to speed and info on how you can help support/promote the authors she’s harmed by her actions:


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One thought on “#Cockygate – WTF? The summation.

  1. The word was actually first recorded in the 1540s (no idea where the woman who made the petition got the 1890s date from), which makes this whole thing even more ridiculous!

    It all would have been so much better Ms Hopkins had just admitted she was in the wrong here.

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