from the um-no dept
For whatever reason, while we see a ton of instances of someone trying to trademark a word or phrase that is absolutely generic and not a source identifier, often it seems some of the most ridiculous instances come from the literary world. Why authors have such a hard time with this is perhaps not entirely mysterious. Steeped in an industry with a tradition of strong views on copyright protections, I suppose it’s a short leap that those in that industry would assume trademark works the same way. After all, journalists make this mistake all the time, so why not authors?
Still, witnessing my book-writing brethren make a run at trademarking words like “how” or “cocky” is more than slightly frustrating. And now we can add the word “dark” to the mix, as author Christine Feehan has applied for a trademark on that word for use in books and fiction.
Christine Feehan is the author of several bestselling series, including one simply called “Dark” — in her trademark application with the USPTO, she has applied for the exclusive right to use the word “Dark” (in “standard characters without claim to any particular font style, size, or color”) in “Series of fiction works, namely, novels and books.”
Literally thousands of books have the word “dark” in their titles, including several series such as Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and Stephen King’s Dark Tower books.
Yeah, they literally do. And not just books, either. Hell, His Dark Materials has an HBO adaptation showing right now (and it’s great). The idea of locking up a generic single word such as “dark” for all of fictional literature is one of those things that should obviously not be allowed to occur. But for the legal argument as to why this isn’t a thing is because a word like “dark” very obviously doesn’t denote the source of a good. For one, it isn’t unique. For two, the word is and has been used in literature since roughly the time that man created literature.
Now, before we all start wringing our hands here, it’s nearly certain that this trademark will never be approved.
Feehan’s application has not yet been assigned to an examiner. It was filed on her behalf by Greg Mavronicolas, a New York based attorney from the Mavronicolas Law Group PLLC.
Dark days are most likely ahead for Feehan, as this is one application that should be tossed in the trash.