Designer Micah Cohen is taking on author E.L. James in an attempt to prevent her from gaining federal trademark registration for “Fifty Shades of Grey," the name of her massively successful book trilogy and also the name of his menswear collection. In June 2012, James (via Fifty Shades Limited) filed a trademark application to register “Fifty Shades of Grey" in quite a few classes, which range from class that cover candles, handcuffs, wine, and sex toys to Class 25, which covers clothing. Obviously, Cohen is taking issue with the latter and has filed a motion of opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to block James' "Fifty Shades of Grey" trademark registration.
James filed an application in Class 25 under Section 1(b), which means that she has not yet begun using the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trademark on clothing, but instead, intends to do so. Hence, the Section 1(b), "Intent-to-Use" filing basis. Interestingly, James is also filing this registration on Section 44(d) and 44(e) filing basis, which means that she filed a foreign registration for the same mark and has been granted a foreign registration for the mark.
No word yet on whether Cohen, who founded his Los Angeles-based collection in 2009, has made a successful plea. We do know that he has not filed an application to trademark the name. However, in January 2007, Cohen applied to trademark "SHADES OF GREIGE" - the name that his brand appears to have gone by from 2007 to 2009 - but that trademark application was abandoned.