Here we go again, hon.
Almost three years after the controversy over trademarks on the word “hon” was resolved during an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, somebody has decided to stir up that kettle of fish.
On Sept. 9, the U.S Patent and Trademark Office published for opposition a trademark for a HON-based design and word.
Baltimore designer Thaddeus Stamps filed a registration for a trademark on Nov. 1, 2012, about three months after records indicate that he first used the design commercially.
Defiant AD sells a “hOn hat” featuring a stylized script lettering for $25, and a $20 “Baltimore hOn” t-shirt.
The “O” and the inclining “Baltimore” lettering on the t-shirt are similar to designs on merchandise sold by the Baltimore Orioles. When contacted by WTBH, a representative of the Orioles organization declined to comment on the record.
Attempts to contact Stamps and the principals of Defiant AD have not been successful.
The Sept. 9 publication by the USPTO begins a 30-day period during which any party who may be damaged by registration of the trademark to file either an opposition to registration or request an extension of the deadline to oppose. If no oppositions are filed or are unsuccessful, the trademark owner is sent a certificate of registration.
According to a source familiar with the matter, a party already plans on filing an opposition to the trademark.
In December of 2010, a “hontroversy” erupted when Baltimoreans learned that Cafe Hon owner Denise Whiting had registered HON trademarks for a variety of printed products such as bumper stickers and coffee mugs. After a year of protests and boycotts that drove Cafe Hon to the brink of failure, Whiting relinquished claims on the trademarks.
Whiting declined to comment on this story.
“After everything that happened, I can’t imagine anyone willing to jeopardize their business by trademarking that word,” said Charlene Osborne, a former “Baltimore’s Best Hon” winner who works as a professional hon under the name of Blaze Char and published a book, My Year as Baltimore’s Best Hon.
“I suggest whoever these people are make a date with Denise Whiting at Cafe Hon and ask her how that worked out,” said Baltimore author and WTBH contributor Rafael Alvarez. “This news will be widely disseminated, and the controversy will rage anew. It won’t be worth the few dollars they make off the symbol.”