For anyone interested in the use of trademarks in the publishing industry, an interesting situation is emerging in the romance writers' area. This week romance author Faleena Hopkins was granted a registered trademark in a stylized version of the word "Cocky" for her romance series which includes the word in the title of each of her books. Apparently she then sent takedown notices to Amazon to ask them to remove from sale other romance books with the word in their titles and also sent letters to independent romance authors asking them to change their titles. The Romance Writers of America has apparently engaged an IP attorney to investigate the matter and there is at least one cancellation petition floating around at the moment. A number of legal issues are raised here including whether the registration should have been granted in the first place, although, in theory, there's no objection to registering a mark that relates to a book series, as opposed to a title of a single book. It's also important to understand that registration is not the same as owning the mark - it gives benefits to the registrant but it's of course possible to claim an unregistered mark as valid. So even if the registration is cancelled, there may be questions as to whether there's a valid unregistered mark in play. There's a useful summary of the situation and relevant legal issues here.