I’ve been following #Cockygate since the story broke back in early May. I wasn’t going to write a blog post about it, but due to quite a few people asking me for updates inside a number of Facebook groups, I decided a blog post would be the easiest way for me to keep track of what’s going on, instead of me posting the same information in a variety of places.
I’m going to post up a timeline of events, as best as I can make out (there’s a lot of information out there and it’s very jumbled in places).
- 2016-present day — Faleena Hopkins releases a series of books seemingly called The Cocker Brothers of Atlanta. These books all relate to a family with the surname Cocker and are classified as romance and all have the word “Cocky” in the title.
- April 17, 2018 — The United States Patent and Trademark Office issues a registration certificate to Trademark Reg. No. 5447836, for “COCKY,” for the following goods: In IC 009: A series of downloadable e-books in the field of romance. IC 016: A series of books in the field of romance. Unlike the previous registration, this is a standard character mark registration.
- May 1, 2018 — The United States Patent and Trademark Office issues a registration certificate to Trademark Reg. No. 5458137, for “COCKY,” for the following goods: In IC 009: A series of downloadable e-books in the field of romance. IC 016: A series of books in the field of romance. This second trademark is for the word ‘COCKY’ in a stylised format, using a font by the font designer Set Sail. It looks like this:-
- May 5, 2018 (approx) — People start seeing tweets querying whether the word cocky has been trademarked and is no longer allowed to be used.
- May 5, 2018 — Jamila Jasper tweets that she has received a Cease & Desist letter from Faleena Hopkins:-
— Jamila Jasper (@JamilaJasper) May 5, 2018
- 5/6 May 2018 — After Jamila tweets about the C&D, the story explodes on Twitter, earning the hashtag #Cockygate. News comes out that there may have been more than one C&D sent out.
- 5 May, 2018 - It is discovered that the stylised font included with the Trademark states in its TOS that you cannot trademark any item using it. People reach out to the designer for further information/to inform him.
- 6 May, 2018 — The RWA requests that anyone who has received a C&D should contact them.
- 6 May, 2018 — Kevin Kneupper, a retired attorney, files a Petition to have the Trademark Cancelled.
Below is a link to my challenge to the “cocky” trademark. #CockyGate
The highly respected Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the USPTO now has the issue before it and will decide whether the trademark of “cocky” should be invalidated!https://t.co/iNKCzPEtNR
— Kevin Kneupper (@kneupperwriter) May 7, 2018
- 7 May, 2018(approx) - Authors start to report that books are being removed from Amazon which have the word ‘Cocky’ in the title.
- 5–8 May, 2018 (approx) — Faleena updates her twitter, apparently mocking the people worrying about her Trademark and her actions:-
- 8 May, 2018 (approx) — Faleena posts a video (1 hour and 40 minutes) onto her Facebook page to justify her actions. She subsequently deletes it a short while later, along with her Facebook Page. Too late- copies have been taken and are available elsewhere:-
This is where tracking things start to get confusing, so I’ll just list things — I can’t promise they’re in the exact order.
- Faleena makes a post on her blog about her latest book, and states she deleted her video because she should know better than to video while drinking whiskey. .
- Faleena makes a post in her private FB group requesting people send her anonymous reports of times they’ve been confused and bought someone else’s book instead of hers:-
- She decides to sue three people — Kevin Kneupper who has filed to have her Trademark cancelled; Tara Crescent, an author who uses ‘cocky’ in her book titles; and Jennifer Watson, a publicist helping to promote a book called Cocktales (more on that later). Kevin Kneupper shared a link to the documentation on his twitter.
Thread for the new #cockygate legal docs. First up is Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Law in support of request for a preliminary injunction and restraining order. A hearing on this is set for next Friday.https://t.co/8iUhRwMYTb
— Kevin Kneupper (@kneupperwriter) May 26, 2018
- She posts in her group giving her version of why she’s done this:-
- She follows this up with a blog post to say because “moles” are sharing her private posts, she’ll be writing a public post explaining why she trademarked ‘cocky’
- The internet waits with baited breath for the follow-up post, while also waiting for the Court Hearing, which is set for 1st June.
- Somewhere within all this, Set Sail sends Faleena Hopkins a Cease & Desist letter for his font usage — as far as I can tell, nothing has come from this as yet.
- Faleena writes her blog post the day before the Court Hearing. I’ll need to link to that as it’s long (don’t say I didn’t warn you) Faleena’s Open Letter to her Past Self
- June 1st — the court convenes. I’m going to post a link to the transcript here, which was purchased by Courtney Milan on behalf of everyone — all thanks should go to her. http://www.courtneymilan.com/cockydocs/I61RHOPM.pdf
- The Judge removes Kevin from the case, effectively allowing his petition to cancel to continue moving forward. He sets a date in September for a Fact Finding Hearing.
So now we wait.
Okay, so that’s a brief (I know it was a lot) barebones breakdown of events (if I’ve missed out anything, or have got something wrong, please let me know in the comments).
This is quite a long post, so at this point I’m going to link to existing posts/twitter accounts that go deeper into the whys, what the hells and what-have-you’s much better than I can.
Marc Whipple is an attorney who has been giving his opinion on #Cockygate — and must be thanked for breaking the court documents, in particular, into terminology everyone can understand. He has written two posts (so far) First Post and Second Post
These following links are to Twitter Threads to start you on your own exploratory journey into #Cockygate. It is, by no means, exhaustive. There have been many many people reporting on the issue and thanks should be sent out to them all.
So. Let’s talk about Falina’s brand. #cockygate
— Romancing the Nope (@RomancingNope) June 2, 2018
— Courtney!!! Milan 🦖 (@courtneymilan) June 1, 2018
FYI any writers outside the romance genre who are snickering at the romance writers over #cockygate — imagine if someone TM’d the word “star” or the word “galaxy.”
Feeling the full weight of this issue yet? You should be.
— Tymber (kinda cocky, with a Y) Dalton 📚❄️🌈♉️🌊🦄 (@TymberDalton) May 27, 2018
I attended the hearing for #cockygate today. As an author in #Cocktales our book is free to continue. On the way home and will tweet specifics and observations. Many that will NOT make official record.
— Liv It Up! (@LivMorrisAuthor) June 1, 2018
If you haven’t been following on twitter. Faleena Hopkins just filed for a restraining order against Kevin Kneuper to try to stop the petition for Cancellation of her asinine trademark. #CockyGate has reached a new low.
I’ll post updates in the comments.
— Bianca-Quietly Loud-Sommerland 🏒🏳️🌈 (@BSommerland) May 25, 2018
Bianca also has a Youtube channel and I think she was the original one to flag up the whole Cocky issue.
There are more updates on her Youtube channel
I’m going to leave this post here and will update should anything new come up.