The titles of the Strike books were registered as trademarks some months before their publication dates. Whilst we were browsing the statutory records for these on the government website (yes, we’re that desperate) we noticed something interesting which may give us a hint about an element of the plot of The Running Grave.
Firstly, some background – and it’s a little tedious so bear with us. None of us here at TSEF are lawyers so we don’t have any in-depth understanding of the process, but it seems trade marks are registered under categories or classes. There are forty-five different categories and all the Strike books that have been published so far are trademarked under six of these categories (and some under more). These are: Class 9 (which includes mainly apparatus and instruments for scientific or research purposes, audiovisual and information technology equipment, as well as safety and life-saving equipment); Class 16 (goods made out of paper, office requisites); Class 35 (advertising, business management, office functions); Class 41 (education, training, entertainment, sport) and Class 42 (scientific and technical services).
Intriguingly, Lethal White has a lot more trademark categories than the others. Without going into too much detail these categories include those for jewelry and watches, leather goods, household and kitchen utensils, textiles, clothing and footwear, and games and sports equipment. Whether these differences are related to the plot, or for another reason – possibly some technical point of law – we do not know.
The registration wording for the different books under each of these categories varies a little, but not much, and generally not in any material, obviously plot-specific way, as far as we can tell.
One small exception is that under Class 9, Troubled Blood has additional wording that relates to perfumes and poisons – wording that wasn’t included for any of the first four books. Perhaps we can surmise this extra wording was necessary due to the plot? The Ink Black Heart has this wording too however. Was it just automatically carried over for the next book?
Now, on to what we found in the registration of the trade mark for The Running Grave.
The Running Grave is trade marked under the same six classes mentioned above only. However, the wording included under each category is much more succinct. Whereas the wording for books one to six has run to a few hundred detailed words per category, The Running Grave generally has less than a hundred words for each section.
However, the what really caught our interest is this wording that is included in Class 9 (scientific instruments and apparatus):-
‘… diving suits, divers’ masks, ear plugs for divers, nose clips for divers and swimmers, gloves for divers, breathing apparatus for underwater swimming…’
None of this wording was included for the trade marks of any of the previous books.
So, can we consider this a clue? Will the plot of The Running Grave involve divers and diving? Can we relate this to JK Rowling’s Twitter header showing Cromer Pier?
Or her use of a wave emoji in the tweet she sent confirming the title of the book?
Maybe there will be a body washed up on the beach and the police will dive for clues? Perhaps there’s a witness to someone or something falling from the end of the pier which results in a search by police divers? As we know from the Silkworm, Strike’s oldest mate Dave Polworth is a scuba diver – will Strike call upon his help once again?
If anyone has any ideas, insight or legal knowledge then let us know!