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I just go this e-mail:

The rumor is Kensington sued NCP after NCP released “Intergalactic Bad Boys”. Apparently, even though titles can’t be copyrighted, Brava felt they owned all the “Bad Boys”. I don’t know how it turned out, or if it’s even resolved.

Interesting. Does anybody know whether it’s been resolved or not? Surely this would have been an expensive endeavour for NCP? I wouldn’t think they’d be in any position to launch a defamation suit.

10 Comments »

  • I was told (rumors, of course) that Kensington could be quite trigger-happy with their ceast-and-desist letters. Shortly after Robin Schone hit big time with The Lady’s Tutor, several erotic romance authors at other publishing houses (and the houses in question) get some charming letters from Kensington. I also hear that the anthology “Big Guns Out Of Uniform” was originally titled “Bad Boys Out Of Uniform”. Guess why Pocket changed the title. :)

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  • katieM
    March 23
    6:26 pm

    Well, that doesn’t really make sense. What about the movie called “Bad Boys” or the theme show from “Cops”? How can you copyright such a common phrase?

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  • Katie
    March 23
    7:24 pm

    I remember reading on Sally Apple’s site that one of her titles was renamed because apparently Kensington trademarked the “bad boy” titles.

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  • From the US Copyright office:

    <<How do I copyright a name, title, slogan or logo?
    Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 800-786-9199, for further information. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark. >>

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  • DS
    March 23
    8:51 pm

    Confusing trademark with copyright. Things can be trade marked that cannot be copyrighted. The trademark database is searchable.

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  • Thank you, DS. Hubby had made the comment, so I passed it along. :) Never too old to learn! :D

    Therefore, you CAN trademark a phrase or title. But what happens, then, to all the previous versions of “bad boys” that came beforehand?

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  • Therefore, you CAN trademark a phrase or title. But what happens, then, to all the previous versions of “bad boys” that came beforehand?

    Not a lawyer, but I’m thinking if a song/place/book/whatever had ‘bad boys’/fill in the name with whatever trademark BEFORE said trademark was established, they don’t have to do anything. Trademarks can’t go retroactive, I don’t think.

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  • In my hometown there’s a sex/lingerie shop called Lover’s Lane that used to use the slogan “Lovers Wanted” in their ads, but then Volkswagen sued them for trademark infringement, in reference to their “Drivers Wanted” campaign. Lover’s Lane ended up having to change their slogan. Everyone was pretty pissed, especially since they were a tiny franchise in Edmonton Alberta, for crying out loud, not a major company with stores all over.

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  • Amanda Brice
    March 24
    4:04 pm

    I *am* a trademark attorney.

    When you apply for a trademark registration in the US, you must indicate the goods or services for which you intend to use the mark, and then before you get the registration, you must show actual use with those goods or services.

    Therefore, if your goods are “books” you must be able to show it. However, if yours goods are books and your trademark is the title of your book, then you might have a problem, because you CANNOT register the title of a single creative work. You CAN register the title of a series, however. In order to show it’s a series, you must actually have book covers of more than one book in that series and show use in commerce…using that trademark for the series. But a single title, no.

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  • Well, I–for one–am glad to see this conversation. My first book for NAL (division of Penguin) was “Bad Girl.” My plan for the second book was to title it “Bad Boy,” and my contract reads that way. Guess I’ll just wait for the “cease and desist” letter.

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