Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Tradmark protection isn't always ironclad

The romance genre is a popular one among readers in New Jersey and throughout the country. Therefore, those who read or write romance novels may be familiar with something referred to as "Cockygate". The story begins when an author filed for a trademark to the word "cocky" through a company called Hop Hop Productions, Inc. It is not clear if the author has a financial interest in the company itself.

In April 2018, a trademark was granted for the word in text form. In May 2018, a trademark was granted for the word in a stylized form. This was despite the fact that other authors had used the word in books before the trademark was acquired. Those who used the word after the trademark had been approved were sent cease-and-desist letters. However, it may be a good idea to ensure that the trademark is valid and cannot be contested prior to taking such an aggressive stance against potentially infringing parties.

Obtaining incontestability is a process that cannot be completed less than five years after a trademark is registered. Trademarks can also be cancelled if they become generic or they cause confusion. In the case involving Hip Hop Productions, an attorney is seeking to have it cancelled, and there is reason to believe that this may happen.

Although trademark protection may help a person or company benefit from intellectual property, there is no guarantee that it a jingle or slogan will be granted such protection. Legal counsel may do trademark searches to decrease the odds that a person or company is infringing upon someone else's idea. Furthermore, a legal professional may work to resolve a trademark dispute in an amicable manner.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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