Monday, December 13, 2010

To Hon, or Not to Hon

Have you read the flap about Denise Whiting, owner of Café Hon in Baltimore, trademarking the word "hon?" Apparently she believes this gives her rights to not only her own logo, the word "hon" in an oval, a blatant rip-off of the UN identification stickers found on European cars starting in 1969, but also to the word itself. She has bragged that she allowed the MTA to use the word in (the ridiculous, over-the-top, and tacky) advertising for their new fare system, gratis. But that when a non-profit wanted to use it, she charged them $25. A non-profit!

Personally, I think it's all quite ridiculous that a person can trademark a word that has been part of the vernacular for generations before she ever came to this town. And only to make a buck.

But if she can do that, why can't I trademark the words "the" or "a?" Talk about profits!

Read more about it here. And check out this terrific review of Cafe Hon on Yelp.
Gotta wonder if one of my favorite local food blogs, Bon Appetit, Hon, is going to be asked to fork over usage fees?


Wendi @ BonAppetitHon said...

Minx, I've been asking myself the same question all weekend. Will the "hon" of BAH be a bigger deal than the "bon appetit"? Because the Conde Nast folks seem to be pretty content to let me be so far.

theminx said...

Conde Nast is apparently smart enough to know that trademarking a popular phrase isn't a way to make friends and influence people.

Hopefully Whiting will not choose to bully you. Although...a year or so ago a niche perfume company called Bond No. 9 sued an amateur/hobby perfumist for using the word "Peace" in the name of her scent. The fragrances were completely different, and there are other instances in the perfume world where "peace" has been used in a fragrance name, but Bond knew it could bully a little guy and win. And win it did.

Tasty Trix said...

I'd like to think such stupid antics would put her out of business, but then, if the wretched food and desultory service at Cafe Hon hasn't managed to do that yet, I don't know what will. (By the way, I wanted to thank you for your sweet comment on my post about my dog Pete.)