WHOPPER BURGER KING BK JR
Those words are all trademarked. That doesn’t mean I can’t write “That fish he caught was a real whopper!” It means I can’t call my burger that if I own a restaurant. Here are some more presently trademarked words: bubble wrap, dumpster, jet ski, memory stick, lava lamp.
No one gets a trademark by accident because a clerk in an office wasn’t paying attention.
There are so many. It’s not easy to get a trademark. It takes months or sometimes years. There are a lot of legal hoops to jump through. You usually need a lawyer.
There’s actually nothing wrong with an author trademarking a word in a series title. In fact, it’s a standard thing to do in the industry. (See header image – source: http://www.sylviaday.com/best-selling-books/ ) Or trademarking the repeated word in the series titles. It’s similar to trademarking anything that identifies your product. It isn’t immoral, illegal or unethical.
What is unethical, although not illegal, is copying a more successful author’s series title, using a similar font, naming your series the same thing as theirs in hope of getting their readers to read your books. The ones you can’t manage to sell on their own merit.
It’s cheating. It’s what makes authors trademark their series names and title words. Worse, it’s unprofessional, juvenile and simply the mark of a bad writer. But it’s not new.
Picking a pseudonym of KING is common for a newb horror writer. Putting it in all caps at the top of the cover, doing any of this tricky stuff that’s supposed to get you readers instead of just working hard to become a good writer, is all part of why indie authors get so little respect in the industry.
The author who trademarked “cocky” isn’t the problem.