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talktidy
11-26-2019, 07:04 AM
Not sure if my leg is being pulled, but apparently writer Christine Feehan has been about the business of trademarking the word "Dark"!

https://twitter.com/aetherlev/status/1199132177461460992 (https://twitter.com/aetherlev/status/1199132177461460992)

I wonder what Philip Pullman thinks about that.

frimble3
11-26-2019, 11:23 AM
Or Ray Bradbury's estate - 'Dark They Were, And Golden-Eyed'. Or Susan Cooper - 'The Dark Is Rising'.

Sonya Heaney
11-26-2019, 12:39 PM
I saw this, and the first book in that series came out in 1999. WHY start trademarking it now? Feehan is one author who certainly doesn't need the publicity (my local library has 1.5 shelves just for her books!).

What's really bugging me is that people are suggesting she trademark "Carpathian" instead, and - uh - the Carpathian Mountains are a major mountain range in Europe and run through seven countries. My family's from there. Honestly, I'd rather she try and trademark "Dark". Surely it will fall through - I hope!

Sonya Heaney
11-26-2019, 01:09 PM
I take it back. She IS trying to trademark "Carpathian". (https://twitter.com/aetherlev/status/1199132177461460992) :mad::mad:

KBooks
11-26-2019, 06:42 PM
Wow, just wow. The sheer arrogance of thinking you can copyright a standard word from the dictionary and claim no one else can use it is just... I can't even. I just released a book a few months back titled "Dark" (and btw, searching for "Dark" on Goodreads returns 84,000 results.) Like readers don't search by author/title anyway?

lizmonster
11-26-2019, 06:56 PM
Ah, a good old-fashioned money grab, wrapped up in what will probably be (eventually, and tearfully) spun as ignorance of how trademarks work.

Richard White
11-26-2019, 07:06 PM
It makes me really wonder who's giving out this horrible legal advice to authors wrt trademarks?

AW Admin
11-26-2019, 07:09 PM
Ah, a good old-fashioned money grab, wrapped up in what will probably be (eventually, and tearfully) spun as ignorance of how trademarks work.

I suspect you're right but the paper work to apply for a trademark registration is not simple; you generally have to spend money even if you do it yourself because of the research part.

So what kinds of people are willing to assist in this ? What kind of a legal practice?

She's spending a chunk just on the paperwork even if she does it herself. It's ridiculous.

And for what purpose? Usually it's for merchandise sales; I just don't see a bunch of people wanting to buy mass quantities (i.e. at the level of a popular franchise) of merchandise related to her books.

Maggie Maxwell
11-26-2019, 07:10 PM
It makes ME wonder who in publishing circles keeps missing all the other attempts that have failed miserably, or seeing them fail miserably and go "No, I should try this. Surely I will win this fight."

Sonya Heaney
11-26-2019, 09:49 PM
Some people are giving Feehan the benefit of the doubt at the moment. She's about as HUGE as an author can get in the romance world, and has a whole team of people around her who might be responsible for this, but still. This is a pretty big thing to not know about.

As I said, the "Dark" series began in the 1990s - this is not some hot new thing. She also has trademark applications out for words related to her other series, and - again - most of them began over a decade ago. It's weird.

veinglory
11-26-2019, 10:47 PM
I think that if you go as far as filing the application, the onus is on the author to google "author trademark problems" and benefit of the doubt has flown out the window.

Sonya Heaney
12-04-2019, 02:36 AM
Well, she's admitted to it now (https://twitter.com/AuthorCFeehan/status/1201955902040858624).

mrsmig
12-04-2019, 02:59 AM
Yeah...this is gonna end in tears.

ElaineA
12-04-2019, 06:10 AM
While her ostensible explanation (protecting her series name for TV/movies/graphic novels) has some validity, going for individual words absolutely gives the lie to what she's doing. She could win a trademark on a series name. I think that's proven. She just isn't going to win on individual words. It feels desperate.

As for the lawyer, well, we don't really know who this lawyer is, or what relationship they have with her. Or whether she said, "I want to do this!" even in the face of an attorney saying, "It's not a great idea." She could also have a truly shady one, but if she does, I'll just say she's been operating in the world of contracts for a LONG time to be so ignorant.

I also think she isn't prepared for the world of modern connections between writers and the volume with which she will be shouted down, nor the willingness of the RWA and writer's unions to band together and step in. It isn't going to end well.

talktidy
12-04-2019, 06:37 AM
Yep, a shit storm is going to rain down upon her.

I checked out Kevin Kneupper's twitter account. He had a hand in taking down the previous nonsense. Sure enough he's up on the news and has put up a teasing note that he has standing - one of his novels uses Dark in it's title - not sure he's serious, but I think the ripples have by now made it to the RWA and probably the SFWA, too. Hence shit storm

Sonya Heaney
12-04-2019, 07:22 AM
What worries me is HOW big Feehan is. The RWA taking on a self-published author on behalf of another self-published author was one thing. But taking on an author who is reportedly worth millions and millions of dollars? People are already raising concerns about how much community funding is going to be wasted on legal battles when it could go towards so many good things for struggling authors.

talktidy
12-04-2019, 08:34 AM
What worries me is HOW big Feehan is. The RWA taking on a self-published author on behalf of another self-published author was one thing. But taking on an author who is reportedly worth millions and millions of dollars? People are already raising concerns about how much community funding is going to be wasted on legal battles when it could go towards so many good things for struggling authors.

My knowledge of US trademark law is thinner than thin, but IMHO I think a competent lawyer ought to be able to show that Feehan is over reaching and being ridiculous in attempting to trademark common dictionary words, and words, furthermore, already used by famous authors.

ElaineA
12-04-2019, 09:43 AM
A bit more info. At this point, the big difference is Feehan's TM application has NOT been approved. For that we can thank CockyBot, which someone created after CockyGate to track these things. By the time we heard about Cocky, it had already been granted, which made things more complex. Feehan's case hasn't even been assigned to an adjudicator yet. SO, that means there's time to protest the application, which could stop it from even being considered. This link is to the US Patent & Trademark office (https://my.uspto.gov/signin?auth-param=2FA&bmctx=A1130A574FA99E5AD8696752833CF9204C37330B4BE1 24CC199AB490C8EAD583&contextType=external&username=string&domain=teas&password=secure_string&challenge_url=https:%2F%2Fmy.uspto.gov:443%2Fsigni n%3Fauth-param%3D2FA&request_id=3890562217734302282&authn_try_count=0&locale=en_US&resource_url=https%253A%252F%252Fteas.uspto.gov%25 2Fccr%252Flop), where anyone with an interest can express opposition. You have to sign up, but there is no cost to doing so. You need screenshots and proof of other books/series that use the words in question, and some detailed info so they know what case you're opposing. This Twitter thread has some additional details on how to go about it. (https://twitter.com/swtpoizn/status/1000446457734942720)

RWA responded tonight that they are "actively reviewing the matter." (https://twitter.com/romancewriters/status/1201999471145627649) They have experienced lawyers I'm sure they're consulting.

I also saw another romance author prepared to file a formal opposition (because she has the word Dark in their titles), and Stephen King might have a thing or two to say about it as well (The Dark Towers series). He's got a fair bit of cash to fight with.

Marian Perera
12-04-2019, 10:21 AM
I also saw another romance author prepared to file a formal opposition (because she has the word Dark in their titles)

Lisa Jackson has a romance trilogy called Dark Jewels, with each individual book having a Dark title. And there's Brenda Joyce's Masters of Time series - Dark Rival, Dark Lover, Dark Embrace, etc.

Sonya Heaney
12-04-2019, 10:27 AM
Thank you, talktidy and Elaine for the information. The six months I spent studying law at university before quitting out of boredom don’t help much!

Marian - :rant::rant:

What’s making me so furious is that—instead of coming out and apologising after days of criticism—Feehan doubled down and is playing the victim. (And she seriously thinks she invented the Carpathians? Ugh.)

AW Admin
12-04-2019, 04:32 PM
She's got problems in terms of not having had a professional do the research on prior use.

See Dark Shadows.See all the books etc. with Dark in their title (https://www.worldcat.org/search?qt=worldcat_org_all&q=Dark).

frimble3
12-05-2019, 04:56 AM
Thank you, talktidy and Elaine for the information. The six months I spent studying law at university before quitting out of boredom don’t help much!

Marian - :rant::rant:

What’s making me so furious is that—instead of coming out and apologising after days of criticism—Feehan doubled down and is playing the victim. (And she seriously thinks she invented the Carpathians? Ugh.)
I think it's the 'Carpathian' thing that really gets me. 'Dark' is over-reaching, but not knowing that 'Carpathia' is a real world thing and uncopyrightable is just ignorance.

Cyia
12-05-2019, 07:08 PM
Yeah...this is gonna end in tears.

Can you imagine someone telling Stephen King he'll have to rename The Dark Tower? Or Phillip Pullman to come up with something better than His Dark Materials? :ROFL:

frimble3
12-05-2019, 10:10 PM
Neither of them (or anyone else) thought to trademark 'dark', that says something right there. This opens things up beyond the Romance community - the whole literary world will mock. Unfortunately, not just at this one author. Now the whole Romance community is going to look flaky.

Soon the Prince of Darkness will be taking an interest.

And that will set off the Christian fiction community.

-Riv-
12-05-2019, 10:45 PM
Here's her latest statement:

https://twitter.com/AuthorCFeehan/status/1202643190727077888/photo/1

Cobalt Jade
12-05-2019, 10:46 PM
Neither of them (or anyone else) thought to trademark 'dark', that says something right there. This opens things up beyond the Romance community - the whole literary world will mock. Unfortunately, not just at this one author. Now the whole Romance community is going to look flaky.

Why do some people have to spoil things for everybody?