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Debate Over ‘Hon’ Trademark Heats Up Again

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The outrage continues after the owner of Hampden’s Cafe Hon copyrights the word “hon.”  She says she did it for business reasons. 

Gigi Barnett explains why the debate is heating up again.

“Hon” is a term of endearment Baltimore knows well, but the debate over who owns the word is brewing again.  It comes just as Honfest–an annual block party tribute to Baltimore’s old school beehives and boas–starts next weekend. 

Back in December, protesters picketed Honfest founder Denise Whiting’s stores.  They were upset that she has gotten a copyright on almost every play on the word.

“This is our word.  This is our city and now it’s owned by one person,” said Carolyn Roberts.

Whiting said then and maintains now that trademarking “hon” is something any good businesswoman would do.

“‘I’m a very hardworking entrepreneur and I love Hampden and I love Baltimore and I’ve spent a lot of time and energy doing whatever I can that’s positive for the city,” Whiting said.

On the list: anything with the “hon” logo, political or religious statements and even cat eye glasses are out.

“Right now, the sticking point is the glasses.  Just because she has the right to do it, sometimes just because of the right to do something doesn’t mean [that] you should do something,” said Lou Catelli.

Even business owners who have shops here in Hampden must pay Whiting $100 if they want to set a table outside during Honfest.  Folks who organized last year’s picketing say they’ll be back next week to picket again.

Last year, thousands of people joined a Facebook group protesting Whiting’s trademark.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Shawn Theron says:

    I’LL be having a BLAST with TONS OF NEW PAINTINGS at the AMERICAN VISIONARY ART MUSEUM/ SIDESHOW’s ART FLEA MARKET that day – COME HAVE A BLAST TOO! EVERYONE IS WELCOME!!!!!!!!!! sogh.org

    1. Shawn Theron says:

      June 11. 9am – 3pm

    2. sven says:

      Thanks, Jhon, I think I will stop by and see ya.

  2. JoeFromAACounty says:

    YOU CAN’T TRADEMARK “HON” AND ANYONE THAT PATRONIZES THAT PLACE IS AN IDIOT!!!!!!

    1. Rose Cupelli Johnson Reed says:

      She made money off of a word that is not hers. Just don’t patronize that place. See how she does then. And who uses that word anyway?

  3. Kurt says:

    I had lunch their once (Cafe Hon). I promise you this, I will NEVER eat there again. “Hon” is a Baltimorism just like “you people”. “Wicked cool” or wicked (insert term here) is a Northeastern thing. Remember when the term “like” was the California valley girl thing? You can’t trademark or copyright things like that.

    I’ll boycott all of Hampden. Some things you just don’t do and this is all for a buck! Well Hon’ees, Buck You! You won’t catch me anywhere near that area.

    Why does someone have to “own” the word? That is just crazy! Besides Hampden, it’s truly a Dundalk term!

    1. Steven Hon Akers says:

      Its not a Dundalk thing. It’s a Baltimore thing. Many blue-collar workers moved from Baltimore City to Dundalk to find work after the mills in Hampden closed. Just FYI friend.

    2. mmp says:

      Please don’t boycott all of Hampden. Her businesses may be located here, but she does not represent us and very few of us support her. We have been subjected to her insulting shenanigans for years, now everyone knows what we have known. Hampden, like Dundalk and so many other communities in and around Baltimore, have great shops, restaurants, crafts people, festivals and social events for all to enjoy. Buck Hampden? I say, “Buck Ms. Whiting!”

  4. Can't Fix Stupid says:

    That place is way over-rated! The food is too expensive and not very good and the waitstaff is rude. I’ll never eat there again.

  5. sven says:

    I’ll stick to french-fries

  6. GoodbyeHon says:

    Seems to me a pretty simple way to handle the situation of the HONFEST (now actually the DeniseWhitingFest)… First – EVERYONE should stop going. And then simply start a new festival called BalmorFest or something other than HonFest. And charge Ms Whiting $1,000,000.00 to put a table out in front of her greasy spoon. Everyone should walk around all day using the word “hon” all we want. That is something Ms Whiting CANNOT keep us from doing. We can say the word “hon” all we want. Secondly, if everyone is so upset about this – simply stop patronizing her and run her out of business, out of Hampden and out of Baltimore. Things like this are really very easy – you just need to do it.

  7. RememberTheRest says:

    Forgive me for saying this… but it is one thing to stop going to her businesses. It is another thing to stop coming to Hampden all together. I have read that people plan on protesting next weekend. What about all the OTHER merchants down in Hampden? They aren’t giving Denise any profits from their sales. They aren’t related to Denise in any way, shape, or form. They are simply trying to do a business and caught up in this mess. Rather than protest, wouldn’t it make more of an impact if someone who is money hungry like Denise sees you, the customer, spending your money at other merchants? I just think everyone needs to remember there are dozens of other businesses in Hampden.

    1. Billy says:

      If the merchants are having a table or stand outside, they must pay Denise Whiting $100. So Denise is profiting from the other businesses. I will go to Hampden next week but will not be there this weekend. And I will never go in that hwores business.

  8. Nora Rich says:

    I know I don’t plan to go to Hon fest or Cafe Hon this year

  9. Harry says:

    Sorry Hon I’m from ease Bawlmer My parents and Grandparents also ! i will say Hon write Hon and use Hon anyway I like.
    This is like putting a putting a trademark in Georgia for saying Y’all
    It belongs to the city of Baltimore.

  10. ME says:

    She’s a BLOWHARD….!!!

  11. Lorna Rudnikas says:

    I like the greeting “honey child” myself. use it all the time. Wonder if I should try to “patent” it????? Ya think????? Mmmmmmm!! 🙂

  12. SILLYMAN MICHAELS says:

    HER FOOD SUCKS..SHE THINKS CAFE HON IS OUTSTANDING…..1 WONDER
    HOW MUCH SHE PAID FOR ALL THOSE MAGAZINE COVERS ON HER WALLS
    NEVER GET A HOT TURKEY SANDWICH ON WHITE BREAD THERE THE GRAVY
    IS AS THICK AS JOINT COMPOUND MUD…PLUS SHE USES’S PROCESS
    TURKEY..I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW SHE IS ABLE TO GET MONIES FROM THE
    MERCHANTS TO BE ABLE TO PUT TABLES OUT FOR THE HON FEAST

  13. pigeon says:

    There is one simple no fault resolution. If the word is in the dictionary tell the lady to take a long walk off of a short pier. She didn’t invent the word! She didn’t invent “Bawlmer” or “Murlin”; you could actually say those are the phonetic spelling of the words Baltimore and Maryland based on sounds heard by the ear of the recipient or how a person pronounces them. There are very few people who properly pronounce either name (they are names not words); most of whom are just to lazy and the others just like talking slang. Bet poor Lord Baltimore is turning in his grave, as well as King Charles I and his wife Queen Henrietta Maria (lovingly referred to as Queen Mary). There’s a history lessor here for you if you don’t already know the origin of the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland.

  14. HeyHON says:

    The “HON” trademark is a crock of Poo (Can I trademark that statement?) HON belong to Bawlmer, not to any one person. She should get a life and give HON Bawlmer back to it’s people. She’s an idiot and doesn’t realize she is actually hurting her own business making people angry at her. She didn’t start the word – so it isn’t her’s to keep.

  15. Rhaa says:

    As other posters here have said. Just stop patronizing her business. I know I have, since the first time I heard about her ludicrous “trademark” shenanigans. However, I still spend my dollars at other of the local shops. How nice would it be for this MoneyGrubber ™🙂 to see lots of customers enjoying themselves at the other businesses and ignoring hers?

    Now there’s a statement!

  16. I blame the courts!! it should not have been OK’ed in the first place…What about the sign as you enter Baltimore. ” Welcome to Baltimore Hun” if you ask me the city has the rights first.. and should challenge the ruling by the copyright folks…

  17. LINDA says:

    i THINK THE COURTS SHOULD BE ASHAME. i HAVE BEEN SAYING hon,BEFORE SHE WAS BORN,AND I WILL ALWAYS SAID IT. wHO DOES SHE THINK SHE IS THE mayor or the governor??????

  18. Sore Losers. says:

    The word “hon” is the result of decades of uneducated tradition in the inner city of Baltimore.
    Along comes an educated business woman, Whiting, who does something intelligent with the word.
    She is met with anger and opposition, by those who were too stupid to trademark the word themselves.
    They were too “slow” , and she was quick on the draw.
    Way to go, Whiting. Maybe you can teach those old dogs a lesson.

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