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Cockygate: Faleena Hopkins Has Registered a Trademark on Cocky, and is Using it to Threaten Other Romance Authors

Trademark bullying is a pox on industries ranging from breweries to whatever over-priced junk Monster Cable is making this week. A trademark bully’s ostensible goal is to keep consumers from getting confused, but in reality there was never any chance of confusion, and all the bullies accomplish is to make their victims needlessly waste time, money, and resources either fighting a lawsuit or re-branding in compliance with the bullying.

And now an author has brought the practice to romance publishing.

Hot from Twitter comes the news that author Faleena Hopkins is sending threatening letters to romance authors who use the word "cocky"  in the titles of their books.

For example:

The above tweet includes a screensnap of an email that reads:

Hi Jamilla,

My name is Faleena Hopkins, author of Cocker Brothers, The Cocky Series,

The Federal Trademark Commission has granted me the official registered trademark of the word/mark “Cocky”, no matter the font.

Trademark Registration number: 5447836

I am writing to you out of professional respect so that you may rename your book “Cocky Cowboy” which shares the same title as my book, and republish all of the versions (ebook, paperback, and Audible) on Amazon to keep your ratings and money earned.

My attorney at Morris Yom Entertainment Law has advised me that if I sue you I will win all the monies you have earned on this title, plus lawyer fees will be paid by you as well.

I will do that – but I would rather give you the option.

I have had this series established since June 16, 2016 and I take all of the hard work I put into establishing it very seriously.

Your hard work I also take seriously.

You have the opportunity to adjust, rename, and republish before taking further action. You can do so on Amazon without losing reviews.

Thank you,

Faleena Hopkins

Hopkins has a trademark both on the word "Cocky" as a stylized script and on the word itself (this is being misreported elsewhere). She has a series of romance novels about a pair of brothers with the last name Cocker, hence the connection to the word "cocky".

This is trademark bullying, plain and simple, and it’s based on an incredibly weak argument.

While a lawyer will tell you that you can trademark common words, there has to be something unique about how you are using the word:

One example that I like to give to clients is that of Apple Inc., the famous computer and software manufacturer. The word “apple” is a very common word, and yet Apple Inc. had no problem trademarking the term “APPLE” for computers and computer programs. Nor did Apple Rubber Products, John Middleton Co., and Scholastic, Inc. All of those companies, and many others, own trademark rights to the single word “APPLE”.

Why was this allowed? Because the word “apple” is an arbitrary word when used in connection with the manufacture and sale of computers and computer programs, or tobacco products, or educational materials. That is, there is nothing about these products that relates to “apples”. Accordingly, the term “APPLE” is actually a pretty strong trademark, as is the case when you apply a completely arbitrary term (however common it may be) to promote your products or services.

The case would be much different if someone wanted to get a trademark on the word “APPLE” in connection with the sale of apples (the fruit). In that case, the name “APPLE” would simply be a generic term for the type of goods being provided, namely, apples. Because of this, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) would never issue a federal trademark registration for the term “APPLE” if the only products being provided were fruit products, even the best trademark attorney wouldn’t be able to help you with that attempt.

"Cocky" is a descriptive term that was already in widespread use before Hopkins filed for her trademark (including in the title of dozens of romance novels). Her use is in no way unique, and there is no way a consumer could get confused because there is no way that the consumer could possibly think the word "Cocky" is a trademark for romance novels.

Edit: As David Vandergriff (a lawyer) explains over at The Passive Voice, the reason that prior works are important is that in trademark disputes, control of a mark goes to whoever used it first, not whoever registered it first. So Hopkins’s trademark is invalid because she was not the first to use the term.

But if consumers were going to get confused, there is an equal probability they would think that her books were part of one of the several series of romance titles that used the work "cocky" in the title (here’s one example).

And while we are on the topic, one of her two trademarks is probably invalid; it appears to rely on a font licensed from Creative Market under terms that said you can’t get a trademark (edit: the creator has confirmed this).

This trademark is going to be voided in the first lawsuit, if not sooner. Mark Whipple, an IP attorney, has weighed in with a detailed explanation of how and why Hopkins is going to lose, and the Romance Writers of America is already taking statements and is getting ready to consult with an IP attorney.

Update: The story is still unfolding on Twitter:

Also, Hopkins is painting herself as the victim over on FB:


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Faleena Hopkins May 5, 2018 um 10:29 pm

Did Miss Jasper tell everybody that her book was called “Cocky Cowboy?” which is the exact title of book 3 in my series published in 2016, and her book was published this year? Check Goodreads.

Yes I was a little short with dealing with her. Because she copied the exact title, and didn’t even have the decency to adjust it slightly. She is the reason I have applied for this trademark. If you want to blame somebody, blame somebody who flagrantly copies as obviously as this woman did.

To be clear, you can trademark a word when it has been differentiated from the rest of the title for a series. I have not threatened anyone. I gave them the opportunity to retitle, which keeps their book, their reviews, their money.

Legalities: The word “Cocky” is protected in conjunction with romance novels and any use of the word “Cocky” which might likely lead the consumers of her books to be confused with a book by that title from another author would be a violation of the Lanham Act. For clarity sake, typically a title is not trademarkable or copyrightable. However, when a title has been used in conjunction with a series of books“

Nate Hoffelder May 6, 2018 um 8:07 am

“I have not threatened anyone."

That is not even close to being true. You threatened them with a lawsuit.

TL Reeve May 6, 2018 um 2:16 pm

Actually the name of her series is Cocker Brothers of Atlanta…so I would assume the Trademark would have had to have been for the Series name. Not the word Cocky.

Cher May 6, 2018 um 8:31 am

There are MANY books with the same title, honey. I can’t tell you the number of books I’ve seen called "Forever". There are even two separate books by two separate authors entitled "Cloud Atlas". Heck there’s two Handbook for Mortals even. It’s ALLOWED.

You’re not a big name author, I doubt Ms. Jasper’s would be confused with yours since very few people have heard of you before you got greedy. You seem to have a high opinion of yourself right now, but guess what? The writer community doesn’t and the readers are taking notice. You have absolutely no self-awareness if you think any publicity is good publicity in this instance.

And I don’t even usually read romance but I think I’ll check out Jamila’s books. She seems like a cool chick.

K. Victoria Chase May 6, 2018 um 9:22 am

Flagrant? "Cocky Cowboy" is two words. There’s a "Cute Cowboy" book available. She could’ve easily chosen that. "Cocky Chef," "Cocky Client," "Cocky Captain," etc. I’m more prone to believe that she choose the title based on alliteration–like many romance authors– and her character’s profession than, "Oh, who is this Faleena Hopkins? She has a 'Cocky Cowboy' title? Let me copy that." At least I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt since people often have the same ideas–at the same or different times.

Honestly, I’ve never heard of you nor your series until today. I’m–like possibly the majority of authors–focused on writing and publishing and not how we can copy somebody else. Now to get back at it. 🙂

Mirrigold May 6, 2018 um 9:27 am

Absolute crap. There are hundreds of books which share the same name and, funnily enough, most readers are quite capable of telling which one is which b the fact the AUTHOR name is usually right on there along with the title.
Stop making excuses for your pathetic attempt at shutting legitimate competition down.
Also I hope "your lawyers" are as quick to get on the case when the owner of the commercial font you’ve used in your stylized trademark comes knocking as he ain’t too happy and over here in the UK where he’s based, our laws on IP are a damn sight tighter.

Tara May 6, 2018 um 2:04 pm

If changing a bookcover is so easy, when are you gonna change the cover on your Cocky Soldier book to Cocky Marine?

You must really underestimate your readers if you think anyone was gonna get mixed up between Jasper’s Cocky Cowboy, with its different cover and different author right there on that cover and yours.

Mark May 6, 2018 um 2:48 pm

Look up the title "The Art of Vanishing." There have been two very different books with that title published in the last year or two (2018 and 2017). It happens. And it happens frequently. Readers know and expect it.

AnimeMama May 6, 2018 um 4:14 pm

I quote from the article: ""Cocky" is a descriptive term that was already in widespread use before Hopkins filed for her trademark (including in the title of dozens of romance novels). Her use is in no way unique, and there is no way a consumer could get confused because there is no way that the consumer could possibly think the word "Cocky" is a trademark for romance novels."

And that trademarking with a font that has a license prohibiting trademarking.

I hope you’re sued and you have to remove the font from the use of your books. I hope your trademark is invalidated. You are a tyrant, madam. An arrogant tyrant. You could have trademarked JUST "The Cocker Brothers Series" and noone would have bitched, as that is your series name and you have many books in it and it’s a brand. But you totally went Imperialistic on this. And every author who has a romance novel with "cocky" in the title from before Sept of 2016 should come and dispute your trademark. I hope they do.

AnimeMama May 6, 2018 um 4:16 pm

er… "no one." I really should proofread before sending.

David May 6, 2018 um 7:48 pm

"I have not threatened anyone. I gave them the opportunity to retitle…"

That’s extremely disingenuous. Everyone always has the opportunity to retitle their own books; you didn’t "give" anyone that opportunity. What you did do was say, "If you don’t retitle, I will sue you." That’s a threat. At least be honest with yourself about what you’re doing.

Ki May 6, 2018 um 11:15 pm

You do realize people use the same titles all the flippin' time, right? I usually do an Amazon search of a prospective title, but it happens a lot. You miss something when you breeze through looking.

If Jamila had a publisher you wouldn’t have gotten very far with your nastygram. Her publisher would have had their lawyers give you the middle finger. What you are doing isn’t right, on any level, and I hope Jamila can get an attorney to sue you for anxiety and mental stress, along with lost royalties.

katie May 7, 2018 um 10:53 am

Did you send a letter telling them to change their titles or you will be taking legal actions? If you did I’m sorry that’s not okay you’re acting like that woman that trade mark HON and she lost her business.

Writing Observer May 8, 2018 um 4:24 am

Faleena – time to give it up. The course that you are on is straight into an iceberg.

Fire the lawyer that gave you this bad advice. Voluntarily surrender your "trademark" before the PTO reverses it. If you wish, refile for "Cocker Brothers" – THAT is a distinguishing mark, and will not be challengeable. Recover all of your "Cocky" books, and do it quickly – as when the owner of the font copyright gets back from vacation, he will almost certainly issue a takedown notice, and it won’t matter how long the PTO takes to invalidate your mark.

I’m not going to tell you to issue an apology to the writing community – although that would be wise, it looks like your pride will probably not allow it. But be aware that there are people that will follow you EVERYWHERE, and every pseudonym you try to use – and let everyone know that you are a "trademark troll." (Not me, there are not enough hours in the day.)

Victoria del Rey May 11, 2018 um 3:34 pm

Let me tell you something, Faleena:
You are a non-ethical person and a robber.

You batlantly robbed a copyrighted design (the Cocky typo design) and trademarked it evento when you knew (admit it, woman, you did!) that IT WAS NOT ALLOWED TO.

Now, about your claim that "Luna" is copyrighted for you (everybody can check it out on Goodreads), you should know that JK Rowling has a character with that name, a latin name since it’s used in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian languages. Are you going to sue Rowling because of that? I bet you want to, just because you need sales for your books, you want everybody to talk about you.

That’s right: it’s publicity, is hunger for fame. You want to be un everybody’s mouth, and you are, but not in a nice way, and certainly not by merits.

Amanda Hendsbee May 11, 2018 um 7:20 pm

I had never heard of you before reading this article, Faleena. I fully expect to never hear another word about you. And honestly, after reading your terribly written letter to those other, likely superior authors, I will be sure to make a point of never picking up one of your books.

Also, you might want to rethink that claim that you never threatened anyone, because it’s pretty blatantly obvious that’s exactly what you did.

Trademark Cock-up – The Passive Voice May 6, 2018 um 1:33 am

[…] Here’s the text of an email Ms. Hopkins has reportedly sent to another romance author per a post by Nate Hoffhelder on The Digital Reader: […]

Me May 6, 2018 um 2:22 am

A book called "The cocky cockiness of the cockies" is set to be published on amazon kindle direct for 99 cents. The book is subtitled "with extra cocky." It is by a reclusive author named "Cocky Cockerstin." The book is about 80 pages of the word cocky.

Nate Hoffelder May 6, 2018 um 7:13 am


Strange May 7, 2018 um 3:35 pm

I eagerly await Chuck Tingle’s "The Cocky Cockiness of the Cocky Mountains in the Butt" It’s about a ghost, named Boo Cocky.

Ashton May 13, 2018 um 11:38 pm

Ok, I was promised this book, and I WANT IT! Can’t someone just, toss it up there for me? Oh, pretty please? I swear to God I’d even buy the paper version!

K. Victoria Chase May 6, 2018 um 5:01 am

Found a post of her’s on Facebook in the 20Booksto50K group (cut and pasted in its entirety):
Faleena Hopkins
May 4 at 11:20pm
"The misunderstandings and bullying have commenced, so let me address this straight on.

I asked to join the Author Support Group to deflate this witch-hunt and upset, but they didn’t give me that voice. I’ll use it here.

I am speaking to those who have met me in person, or have interacted with me, and know who I really am. To those who enjoy hate, bullying, and one-starring like high-schoolers, this is not for you. I’m talking to the adults and the business people.

First, I apologize for the time this has taken away from your writing.

Second, other authors will be trademarking their businesses soon. I’ve already heard from some. By this reaction you can tell there is a reason to do so.

I’ve struck a chord and not because I’m doing anything but creating a brand that doesn’t get diluted.

I am not after peoples livelihoods.

The Federal Trademark Commission took seven months and reviewed all of the existing cocky titles before granting me the registered trademark to the word Cocky in relation to Romance, because it is an established brand.

Again: I am not after peoples livelihoods.

Why? Because as much as they would like you to believe, Amazon will not shut down an account for one book, and I have told those I contacted that if they have a problem with Amazon, I will go to bat for them. Is that the action of someone who wants their account gone?

TRUTH, please hear this and take this in> They keep their books, their reviews, their rankings, and their money, by simply retitling their one book each.

Since people are asking about the "What about the people before" — I did NOT include the few one-offs that were published before my series, because I felt that was fair.

I’m doing this for the slew that came afterward.

One author I messaged changed hers already after telling me "I looked into it and it’s easy" then wrote back and said (paraphrasing from memory) "It’s live all over Amazon already. That’s the fastest anything has ever been approved."

I just shared her name and the book name in my FB Group and asked my readers to give her book some love, after I told her thank you. And frankly the new title is BETTER.

It’s very simple. So easy. Perhaps they are mad because they will no longer be found when people search for my series. Perhaps they know that in AMS (headline and sponsored ads) My name and my series are called a "high traffic keyword" by Amazon — because I worked two years to create that. Now they will have to create their own following, and I get it, it’s hard work.

I did this because I receive emails from readers mad they spent money thinking they were getting more of my intertwining series. That is what a trademark protects.

They keep the book.
They keep the reviews.
They keep the money.
Their accounts are not in jeopardy.
That is fear talking.

Any of my readers will tell you who I really am.

When I get emails/PMs from them I tell them NOT to one-star those authors.

I also delete the upset-posts in my FB Group where they post a Cocky book that carries my font and all that jazz. I take it down and tell them we #FightWithLight Just keep enjoying the series and it’s all about having fun.

I also say to stand up for yourself.
Which I am doing now.

Do you remember the the female cover artist who tried to commit suicide because 80 people, mostly allegedly romance authors, had told her to? Some had even suggested she slit her wrists because the world would never know or care. This attack was done because they said she allegedly copied a design from an existing book.

Yet now people are upset that I am taking away their ability to copy me? Sure, not all of them have done that purposefully, but go look around.

You know covers.
You know keywords.
See for yourselves – most are a direct hit.

What would you do?

But people love to stir the pot. And they like to believe that readers can be manipulated to join their hate when in truth readers don’t understand exactly what is happening behind the doors of this business. They know that.

They would love to have you gang up on me.

It’s up to you whether you give them that power. I’ll be fine either way.

Those of us who have been pirated, our books published to iTunes in order to get us kicked out of KU, and one star reviews showing up on goodreads before books have even been finished and sent to the proofreaders, are fighting for our work.

Just as I would hope you would fight for yours if the need arose.

It’s so easy to go to darkness, but it’s equally easy to go to light.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.“– Maya Angelou


I think my guardian angels auto corrected that. So I’m keeping it. ?"

Nate Hoffelder May 6, 2018 um 7:13 am


I had seen that, but left it out because it deserved to be quoted in full and there are enough quotes already.

QM May 6, 2018 um 10:46 am

Antonin Artaud once wrote that "All Writing is Pigshit…"

Perhaps he was on to something…

Kelly May 7, 2018 um 11:56 am

how are her fans supposedly purchasing the wrong books?? it says an authors NAME right there on the cover, hell when you got the page where the book is the authors name is usually right beside the title of the book so how the hell can anyone purchase a book that isn’t hers unless they aren’t paying attention…and if that’s the case whose fault is that?? She definitely thinks highly of herself though that’s for sure by basically saying that these other authors are using her to further their own careers/books…give me a break, anytime I’ve looked up an author I enjoy other authors/books have popped up as well and that’s fine, it’s showing other things I may be interested in checking out and guess what sometimes I have, I’ve seen another authors name & book and thought "hey that sounds interesting, let me check it out" where’s the harm in that?? All she’s trying to do is justify her reasoning for why she did what she did and guess what there is NO justifying it, if someone actually copied her work, not the title of some bloody book but had very similar characters, storyline etc. then I’d say yea she has a reason to be upset but it’s a title, that’s all. As others have mentioned there are a TON of same titled books out there, so what…I hope she gets shot down & I hope the guy whose font she used goes after her big time!!!

Writing Observer May 8, 2018 um 4:38 am

Thing is, she could have trademarked "Cocker Brothers" as the distinguishing mark for her series. That would have been defensible – no prior use of it. (And she already has problems – "Cocky Cagefighter" was a series BEFORE she published her first book.) It would also almost certainly be a defensible trademark against a would-be coattail hanger using something like "Cocky Brothers," or "Cocker Cousins" – but now her trademark will be invalidated, and she apparently is under the thumb of a lawyer that is not competent at IP law, and will most likely not refile for a defensible trademark. (Incompetent lawyer I say, and mean. A competent one would have ensured that all elements of the trademark were valid – and would not have let a font without a proper license get by him or her. Much less the prior "Cocky" series title. Myself, I would be hunting up another lawyer to sue the first one…)

Kimberly Gordon May 9, 2018 um 11:41 pm

There is no such thing as "The Federal Trademark Commission." There’s a Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But this woman is running around sending cease and desist letters to other authors with false information. She’s not a lawyer and doesn’t seem to know what she’s talking about.

A Curious Trademark Kerfuffle in the Cocky World of Romance | Camestros Felapton May 6, 2018 um 7:47 am

[…] Nate Hoffelder has a quote filled update… […]

Tez May 6, 2018 um 7:55 am

"I have not threatened anyone. I gave them the opportunity to retitle, which keeps their book, their reviews, their money."

Translation: "If you don’t retitle, I will threaten your book, reviews, and money."

Eliza D. May 6, 2018 um 8:24 am

So, the reason Faleena filed two trademark applications in September of 2017 is because another author, Jamila Jasper, published a book with the same title as one of Faleena’s in March of 2018? Or am I existing on an alternate timeline?

Sandy G May 6, 2018 um 11:50 am

Hahaha…. aparently! In all her efforts to think up a plausable reason for her actions, I think I’ve heard 4 different ones now, she’s not thinking things through and contradicting herself…

Kathryn J Bain May 6, 2018 um 9:02 am

It doesn’t make sense that you can get a trademark on such a common, overused word in the romance genre.

AnimeMama May 6, 2018 um 4:23 pm

The gov’t needs to get its act together. No one should be able to trademark a term that is common in the arena where an author (or farmer or makeup artist or whomever) wishes to trademark it. Cocky, Cowboy, Runaway, Amnesia, Secret, Baby, Reunion, Cinderella, Beast, Tycoon..think of all the VERY common, overused, tip-off words in romance. Every genre has them. No author–not one–should be able to trademark common words used in titles and series names in any genre. If it’s a DISTINCTIVE brand: "The Cocker Brothers Series," for example, okay. Fine. That’s the brand. Cocky is not the brand. Cocky is just a word. Just an adjective. And a romance arena one.

The trademark should never have been issued, and maybe author associations/guilds/RWA/MWA/etc should get together and talk with the gov’t to stop this shit in future and revoke where it should not have been approved. It’s arrogant and tyrannical and wrong.

Protect the brand: yes. But the brand. Not common words in the field. Not titles. Titles should be absolutely free to be repeated. Many books have the same titles and always have. You can’t copyright a title. You should not be able to trademark one unless you invented the damn words. By all means, trademark neologisms. That’s being creative.

Heather May 6, 2018 um 10:42 am

In keeping with what we’ve seen so far, Faleena Hopkins once again has no idea what she’s talking about.

You CANNOT in the United States, copyright or ™? A book title. You cannot claim exclusivity OR make someone change their title.

To me, she’s acting like a child who licks something and claims “it’s mine”.

Advice? Grow the f*** up.

Nate Hoffelder May 6, 2018 um 11:26 am

no, you actually can trademark a book title – movie titles are frequently trademarked. But that doesn’t matter here because the trademark is on a single word which was already used a lot and is in no way unique.

Writing Observer May 8, 2018 um 4:43 am

Exactly. "Star Wars" is trademarked, and fully defensible (and has been successfully defended multiple times already). But you CANNOT trademark "Star," even in the limited arena of science fiction. Nor "Wars" in any arena. George Lucas had a COMPETENT IP attorney.

McDruid May 8, 2018 um 7:01 pm

Lucas did sue the Reagan administration for using "Star Wars" to refer to a missile defense system.
He lost though.

Writing Observer May 9, 2018 um 8:56 am

Because Reagan did not call it "Star Wars." The critics of the Strategic Defense Initiative called it that. That was a stupid lawyer.

I think there is an exception somewhere for using even a fully valid character trademark for satirical or descriptive purposes, even though the basic law does allow enforcement even when a use does not cause confusion with the trademarked item. (Does everyone realize that "spam" is still a recognized and legally enforceable trademark of Hormel Foods?)

daniel May 6, 2018 um 12:57 pm

"A book called “The cocky cockiness of the cockies” is set to be published on amazon kindle direct for 99 cents. The book is subtitled “with extra cocky.” It is by a reclusive author named “Cocky Cockerstin.” The book is about 80 pages of the word cocky."

Excellent….I will buy it now and promote it !!!!!!!

Jessica May 6, 2018 um 2:42 pm

Can’t wait to buy it!!!

Jessica May 6, 2018 um 2:41 pm

Unbelievable. I can’t believe the audacity of this author. She has clearly ruined her career and made it very easy for readers to hate her and not buy her books. I have been an avid reader for years and not only have I stumbled upon books with the same name – but the same picture on the cover!!!!! I fully support Indie authors and any/all books that have the word Cocky in it. #ByeFaleena #CockyGate #ISupportCockyAuthors

Allie May 6, 2018 um 3:17 pm

Why didn’t she just Trade Mark the entire series title instead of just picking out one word? That way people could search for her series title and she would have avoided this whole thing.

Kelly May 7, 2018 um 12:03 pm

because that would be too easy…it seems to me that she #1 just wants her name out there no matter how it’s accomplished since it’s not right now (I mean I’ve never even heard of her before) #2 money if she goes after the word Cocky only then any title from the time period she’s going after will be affected, so they either change it or she sues them…if she uses her whole series and trademarks that then it doesn’t affect anything and she can’t bully anyone or try and take their money…let’s face it, no matter what happens she’s gotten what she wanted…her NAME out there for everyone to see, whereas before she might’ve been only slightly known now she’s widely known cause of what she did, hell ppl might even wanna check out her books to see what she’s all about. So in the end, she accomplished what she REALLY wanted to do and that’s make a big name for herself despite how she did it…

Writing Observer May 8, 2018 um 4:47 am

She’s also lost her entire distribution chain – if she persists. Clear violation of the Amazon TOS, and no other distributor is going to touch her now.

There is a lesson in this debacle for the rest of us – when you choose an IP attorney, choose VERY carefully. Check references. Make sure that the experienced partner is actually handling your account – not some legal aide straight out of trade school.

A competent IP attorney would have avoided this entire mess right from the start.

Claudia May 6, 2018 um 3:45 pm

So now you’re calling us morons FALEENA? So, you think that when I bought books or audiobooks you have written and narrated I was such a moron that I didn’t read who’s work that was?

First of, if I was your fan, I’ll search under your name to find any releases I would have missed or for upcoming ones!! So you see, you’re insulting me by implying that I’m so stupid that I have no clue on how to purchase my favorite author’s books!!

Well, guess what? I just returned your awful audiobooks because I thought they were from someelse. The only thing that pains me is that Jack Stone’s work will be missed because unlike you, he does an extraordinary performance and I vow to make it up to him by purchasing any audiobooks that are none related with you!!

Thank you very much for opening my eyes!! Oh, and next time don’t use your fans with insulting excuses to have your 15 minutes of fame, just grow a pair!!

Nicole May 6, 2018 um 5:58 pm

The word cocky dates back to the mid 16th century and has been in common usage for over nearly 500 years. It cannot belong to one selfish bi+(Hy woman! Talk about cocky! Whoever granted her a trademark on the word was an idiot! She does not own the right to a word that’s has been in use since Shakespeare not invented in 2016. If her readers are dumb enough to be fooled by a book clearly labelled with a different authors name too bad for her.

D. Renee Bagby May 6, 2018 um 7:07 pm

Jamila Jasper has her book back up and she clapped back hard on this one:

Karen Kania-Forehand May 7, 2018 um 12:33 am

Thanks for the link! I have one clicked for this one!

Writing Observer May 8, 2018 um 4:50 am

I don’t read romance. I don’t have the funds to buy it right now. BUT it is about to be downloaded for KU, and I will actually read it. (Review, I’ll see – I don’t do dishonest ones for any reasons whatsoever, but I can probably review the writing quality at least.)

Benwhoski May 7, 2018 um 6:11 pm

And as a bonus, it’s way better title now anyway.

Nate Hoffelder May 6, 2018 um 7:26 pm

Oh, this is funny. Over on FB, Hopkins is painting herself as the victim:

Sara Manzo-Leasure May 6, 2018 um 11:02 pm

Yeah, upset me so much I went over to Amazon and purchased Jamila’s book. This is me obviously showing what I think of faleena Hopkins.
Your fans, are what makes you. However if not treated with decency and respect, they can also be what breaks you.
As woman we are constantly looked down upon and treated as if we had no brains, by some individuals. But to be treated this way by another woman that’s going too far.

Richard Hershberger May 7, 2018 um 11:11 am

"People are supporting me in email" is a classic, going back to usenet days. The presumption is, of course, that this is bullshit.

Reader 05/07/18 Edition – Wordpreneur • How to Make Money Writing May 7, 2018 um 5:25 am

[…] word Cocky in titles and series names and has started going after other authors. Here’s a post on The Digital Reader if you want more info on what they now call […]

John Lyttle May 7, 2018 um 6:09 am

Such rich condescension, nobility and such practised victimhood – a cloak I’m now certain Faleena wears when it is thought most useful. And all those fans hiding from attack! Have they ever been on FB or Twiiter before, were even the most cursory skim shows that attack is the mode, the goad and never a determent – rather the opposite. If it weren’t for the appallingly penned sub-porn she churns out thinking it’s Proust one might imagine her 'readers and fans' were nuns, saints and martyrs to their vow of silence. I think we all know by now that if you looked up the phrase 'passive-aggressive' in the dictionary, there a picture of dear Faleena would be, showing her in all her wilful arrogance and self-inflicted suffering with perhaps a one word caption underneath: 'Blameless'. A fantasist of the first order my friends. How a woman who admitted to being $50,000 in debt (and from 'just living' – rather remiss of an adult) but now, she claims, has enough cash to pursue through the courts anyone who uses the word 'cocky' in a book title, should be treated as the transparent attention seeking creature she is.Let’s test her mettle. I nominate the authors of Cocky Bastard, which was a sizeable hit in the same genre the year before Faleena self published her opus with the salient word 'cocky' in it… no, wait, you don’t think she could have possibly… ripped off….
Like · 1m

Raichael May 7, 2018 um 7:39 am

Considering that her latest book has been deemed less than stellar by her fans (I’m not talking about one star reviews by people angry with her, but genuine reviews from readers who found themselves disappointed by the latest installment of her series) maybe she should have focused on writing a better story. It seems to me that she started all this b.s. to either make her name more widely recognized, in hopes of gaining publicity, or she’s having a jealous fit because her numbers have fallen off.

John Lyttle May 7, 2018 um 9:22 am

I fear she is discovering that there is indeed such a thing as bad publicity.

D. Renee Bagby May 7, 2018 um 9:01 am

More news: Former-IP lawyer Kevin Kneupper (now an author himself) has come out of lawyer-retirement to challenge this trademark (on his own dime). He’s already written up and filed the challenge and posted it online (redacted) for everyone to read:

Trish May 7, 2018 um 12:21 pm

I’ve browsed through the comments and not read every word, so haven’t seen this yet…but has anyone else put in the trademark number provided to see that it is not registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office? Am I missing something, or would this be 'another' Trademark department? lol Also, I put in her name (both that were provided here) and the series title, and the word 'cocky' and…nothing. So is this a threat, or can someone validate this trademark exists?? Thanks!

Merrick Green May 7, 2018 um 3:35 pm

It was done pretty early in the controversy and I understand a petition to USPTO to revoke it was filed today by Kevin Kneupper (@KneupperWriter).

Design mark under the font is Reg#5458137

Any use of the word in romantic e-book is Reg#5447836

#Cocky Romance Author Trademarks word, Starts #cockygate: A Summary – Book Binge May 7, 2018 um 5:01 pm

[…] The Digital Reader: Cockygate: Faleena Hopkins Has Registered a Trademark on Cocky, and is Using it to Threaten Other Ro… […]

The AP Guide to Snark May 7, 2018 um 7:00 pm

I had planned to get a Trademark on the idea of a romance writer being a delusional cuntwipe, but Faleena Hopkins beat me to it. ?

#Cocky Romance Author Trademarks word, Starts #cockygate: A Summary – Front Porch Romance Book Review Blog May 7, 2018 um 11:34 pm

[…] The Digital Reader: Cockygate: Faleena Hopkins Has Registered a Trademark on Cocky, and is Using it to Threaten Other Ro… […]

Margie Jones May 8, 2018 um 1:52 am

Sorry, but the word Cocky is owned by no one except the person who made that word up in the 16th century if not before that point. The originator of that word who is long dead gave no one permission in any recent year to trademark it for themselves. In fact, no company truly has the right to sell someone a word or trademark to especially common words since the word Cocky alone is not a brand, it is a common term that is used most of the time to describe a personality trait or expression.

Are you going to sue all the dictionaries that have this word? Good luck with that shit. This common word has been around for hundreds of years and there are titles way before you started this shit that will never be changed due to they are classics with the authors being deceased unable to change anything and protected through their copywrites as well as much more powerful people than you want to fuck with.

Changing book covers costs money, so I assume the people who have to update book covers due to your bullying bullshit should sue your ass for costs in replacement covers for books since it is not free and takes more than one day to fix. As an Author and book cover artist, some book covers can cost up to 350 dollars or more with additional charges for any changes. You should pay these people also for stress, anxiety, and all the shit you are putting them through all because you want to be a selfish thoughtless bitch. You also owe all these people losses in sales for the time their novels were taken down by Amazon due to your asshole bullying behavior to spend money and time to fix their titles because of your shitty behavior.

Saying you own the trademark to Cocky is like someone saying they own the trademark to the alphabet. I will, in fact, pay to trademark the whole damn alphabet when I win the lottery allowing everyone to use it except people like you Feleena Hopkins so you can never write again without getting sued in which you will have to take every damn book down you have ever written since I will do that shit to you if you keep fucking with Authors especially the ones I care about. If you haven’t realized yet what an idiot you are and the bully you are to treat fellow Authors like this then you deserve every bit of hell you get. I do not want your fucking forgiveness so please shove that up your self-righteous ass.

Therefore, prepare to be destroyed through your own doing as we Authors are many and you are already downhill so low that you will continue to sink in the quicksand you stepped in with no one to save you because you did this to yourself.

If Shakespear was alive, he would probably say "Thou art a boil, a plague sore, Feleena. I’ll beat thee, but I would infect my hands." See, even Shakespear doesn’t want your disease or it spread to others. May the Cocky Cactus live on since it was out in 1946 way before anything you ever wrote by Van Kampen Press: Chicago, IL., 1946 and I am sure the publisher’s lawyers would have a field day ripping your ass to shreds if you try to go after that author.

Link of the Week – #cockygate | MUSETRACKS May 8, 2018 um 5:57 am

[…] another post by The Digital Reader to show you first hand the […]

K. Victoria Chase May 8, 2018 um 7:49 am

Another comment from her.

Cut and pasted in full from

Yo – Faleena Hopkins here. Hi! Man, how you can twist a story when you have the desire to. As for my blatant hypocrisy with my Cocky Soldier book, one of my readers wrote to me privately and pointed this out. I agreed with her. Totally forgot about this instance and I was a hypocrite. The great thing about open, adult communication is you can take care of the problem and not enflame it into an assault like the diabolical one that’s going on. I retitled, republished, and will have to get new bookmarks made up. Should I start crying? Most of these authors were ranked in the 100ks, which means they sold 1 book a day. I’m glad I’ve been able to give them some publicity so they can make some cash. And everyone else, this blog included, happy to give you eyeballs since you probably worked hard to get here. But none of you really know the story. Having fun?"

"Those authors" were so terribly ranked, that this situation has given them some publicity–which they owe to her. Since they had such horrible sales, then it would stand to reason that changing covers would probably–totally speculating here–have caused a financial hardship and wouldn’t have been as easy as Faleena claimed, or is as easy for Faleena to do (assuming she’s making more money).

John Lyttle May 8, 2018 um 10:48 am

Someone needs to Faleena that when you’re in a hole it’s best to stop digging. And that no one says 'Yo' anymore.

Anna Erishkigal May 8, 2018 um 6:09 pm

Something that’s being overlooked in this entire case is that there is a FIRST AMENDMENT issue in a U.S. Government agency issuing trademarks against commonly used, ordinary words.

The publishing industry, whether that be book publishing, magazines, newspapers, or other forms of social media, enjoys unique protection under the First Amendment, which states:

"…Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…"

While the body of the U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to govern interstate commerce and establish an office for patents, it DOES NOT authorize the granting of trademarks, and several times, the U.S. Supreme court STRUCK DOWN trademark offices until passage of the more narrowly tailored Lanham Act in 1946.

In other words, free speech and freedom of the press TRUMPS the government’s right to issue trademarks because free speech and freedom of the press (which the publishing industry is part of) is specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, while trademarks have been ruled NOT. Whenever a governmental agency moves to curtail a constitutionally protected right, there is a HIGHER SCRUTINY of whether that is allowed. When the government issues a trademark, it is taking STATE ACTION to deprive an individual of the right to use that mark or phrase.

Now picture what will happen if the government or a private corporation or a political party, desiring to squelch free speech, starts patenting words the public might use during public discourse to reach out and force the press to not use those words.

A PAC patents "change."
A PAC patents "great again."
A chemical giant patents "modified."

So what happens when a rising star politician starts talking about "Change you can believe in," or "Make America great again," and this opposing PAC comes in to force the media companies to "take down" and censor all speech using those words. That candidate just got stopped dead in his tracks. Likewise, say citizens are debating the safety of "genetically modified organisms" and Chemical Giant comes in and shuts down the conversation.

The government shouldn’t ever have the authority to grant to private individuals the right to remove from the public lexicon ANY word which is used in the public’s common vernacular. It sets a very, very dangerous precedent to squelch free speech rights by putting the means of censorship into private hands. Almost EVERY candidate publishes a "this is my position" book, and almost EVERY scientist or advocate publishes a "this is why this thing is bad for people" book.

In all of the "trademark wars," somebody HAS to raise the First Amendment issue, because we (authors – journalists – bloggers) have a Constitutionally protected interest which no private individual or corporation should be allowed to silence by using sneaky means.

EVERY author has "standing" to challenge that trademark on 1-B grounds.

Anna Erishkigal May 8, 2018 um 6:12 pm

EDIT: to be clear, I’m not saying the government CANNOT issue a trademark on words or phrases, just that, when it comes to removing common words from the public’s right to discourse via the publishing industry, there is a STRICT SCRUTINY test that must be applied before that trademark can be issued.

McDruid May 8, 2018 um 7:05 pm

Looks like we will have to rename "The Streisand Effect" to "The Faleena Effect."

Allen F May 8, 2018 um 11:51 pm

Na, Streisand is still better known than this one ever dreamed of being. 😉

Episode 214 – Title Trademarks, Jami Albright, and Escape Artists | Sell More Books Show May 9, 2018 um 7:02 am

[…] News #4: It’s Fiction to My Ears (2) News #3: Faustian Deal News #2: Albright, Albright, Albright News #1: Indie Affinity Wars (1) News #1: Indie Affinity Wars (2) News #1: Indie Affinity Wars (3) News #1: Indie Affinity Wars (4) […]

Cocky… Maybe – L. J. Pruit May 9, 2018 um 1:54 pm

[…] into the romance genre or the publishing world at all, I’m imagining you’ve heard about Cockygate. If not here is an excellent story summing it all up. This blog post is not about that. At least, […]

Shayne Madison May 10, 2018 um 8:39 pm

I think Faleena’s response of being brought to tears by her fans in support of her is best piece of fiction yet. (Although, I’ve not read much by her – just her threatening posts to authors.)

Serena Paul May 11, 2018 um 4:58 pm

Please, at this point both her AND her rant have become running jokes. Pure YouTube/social media fodder for sure.

Polly May 11, 2018 um 7:25 pm

As far as I know, you can’t copyright or trademark a title, but you can trademark a series name ("Star Wars") is trademarked for a "series of fiction books". Is "cocky" descriptive for a romance series? If "Star Wars" is an example, I am not sure about that.

#Cockygate: My Thoughts | Kandice Michelle Young May 13, 2018 um 1:27 am

[…] The Digital Reader Article  […]

Balancing Act | Tonya Cannariato May 14, 2018 um 1:52 am

[…] big news in the writing world was an author who trademarked the word “cocky”. And then started sending cease and desist letters to people who had that word in titles that had […]

A CockyGate botrányról: pimasz romantika a szerz?i jog és védjegyjog között – COPY21 May 16, 2018 um 10:32 am

[…] els? ránézésre úgy fest, hogy a mind a bejelent?, mind a lajstromozó hatóság olyan hibákat vétett az lajstromozási eljárás során, amely el?bb-utóbbi a védjegy törléséhez fog vezetni. […]

William Kendall May 27, 2018 um 2:37 pm

I wonder if Faleena realizes that she’s poisoning her own bloody reputation by this nonsense, and a bad reputation is nearly impossible to get rid of.

Now Available: Cocktales Box Set by the Cocky Collective | Love 4 Books May 31, 2018 um 9:08 am

[…] and goes into the nitty, gritty of not only the patent but the scandal surrounding it.  The Digital Reader and The Passive Voice also go into depth about how and when this trademark can be applied. Needless […]

Episode 247 – 2018: The Year in Review | Sell More Books Show December 26, 2018 um 6:02 am

[…] Problems (2) News #4: Creating Problems (3) News #3: Scandal-abra (1) News #3: Scandal-abra (2) News #3: Scandal-abra (3) News #3: Scandal-abra (4) News #3: Scandal-abra (5) News #3: Scandal-abra (6) News #2: Also Lost […]

Why #cockygate could be an issue for authors who do and don't trademark ⋆ L.J. Diva January 20, 2019 um 11:01 pm

[…] Reddit #2 – Slate – Kevin Kneupper – Myriddn Publishing – The Digital Reader – The Guardian – Electric Literature – Jenny Trout There are also a massive pile […]

Why #cockygate could be an issue for authors who do and don't trademark ⋆ L.J. Diva January 23, 2019 um 2:16 am

[…] Reddit #2 – Slate – Kevin Kneupper – Myriddn Publishing – The Digital Reader – The Guardian – Electric Literature – Jenny Trout There are also a massive pile […]

#cockygate: A Saga of Arseholery | Domme Chronicles September 30, 2020 um 5:05 am

[…] Nate Hoffelder: Cockygate: Faleena Hopkins Has Registered a Trademark on Cocky, and is Using it to T… […]

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