If you found Faleena Hopkins’s attempt to trademark the word “cocky” infuriating then this next trademark could give you a stroke.
Note: We’re not talking about a trademark on a design for a specific series but on the most broadly generic design possible. This is what was included in the paperwork:
The mark consists of a title and/or series name at the top of the trade dress; one or more human or partially human figures underneath, at least one of the figures holding a weapon; and an author’s name underneath the figures; wherein the title/series and author’s name are depicted in the same or similar coloring. The dotted lines represent the product, and are used to show the location of the trade dress on the product, and do not constitute part of the trade dress.
Most trademarks (not including other trademarks filed by this company) very specifically name the title or series that is covered by the mark. By leaving out that detail this filing is claiming to trademark book covers where someone is holding a weapon.
In short, I violated the trademark by creating the following book cover in Canva:
Okay, I didn’t actually violate the trademark because it has not been approved – which is never going to happen.
The thing about trademarks is that not only do you have to use the trademark commerce in order to claim any right to it, you also have to be the first to use it. If someone files a trademark on a term that is already widely used then the application is declined. (Or at least it should be declined; Hopkins still managed to get her trademark on “cocky” – it has since been invalidated.)
In the case of the “guy holding axe” trademark application, there are so many covers with similar designs that there is no way that this trademark could be valid.
I mean, there are only like three or four thousand books with similar covers on the market; surely that is enough to show prior art.
P.S. And the same goes for the other trademarks filed by this company. It has also filed trademarks on terms including The Destroyer, Star Justice, and Dragon Slayer. Those terms have been used a few hundred times each, at least.