from um no department
For some reason, while we see a ton of cases where someone tries to drop a word or phrase that is absolutely generic and not a source identifier, it often seems like some of the more ridiculous cases come from the literary world . Why the authors have such a hard time with this may not be entirely mysterious. Rooted in an industry with a tradition of strong views on copyright protection, I guess it’s a small leap that those in that industry would assume branding works the same way. After all, journalists make this mistake all the time, so why not authors?
Still, seeing my fellow writers attempt to tag words like “how” or “arrogant” is more than a little frustrating. And now we can add the word “dark” to the mix, because author Christine Feehan has filed a trademark application for that word for use in books and fiction.
Christine Feehan is the author of several successful series, including one simply titled “Dark” – in her trademark application to the USPTO, she requested the exclusive right to use the word “Dark” (in “characters standard without claiming any font style, size or color”) in “Series of works of fiction, 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.
Yeah, they literally do. And not just books either. Hell, Its dark materials has an HBO adaptation right now (and it’s awesome). The idea of locking down a single generic word such as “dark” for all fictional literature is one of those things that should obviously not be allowed to happen. But for the legal argument why it’s not a thing, it’s because a word like “dark” very obviously doesn’t denote the source of a good. For one thing, it’s not unique. For two, the word is and has been used in literature since about the time that man created literature.
Now, before we all start wringing our hands here, it’s almost certain that this brand will never be approved.
Feehan’s application has not yet been assigned a reviewer. It was filed on his behalf by Greg Mavronicolas, a New York-based attorney with Mavronicolas Law Group PLLC.
Dark days are likely ahead for Feehan, as this is an app that should be thrown in the trash.
Filed Under: christine feehan, dark, fiction, brand