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The Newly Trademarked 'Hon' Sparks Protest

"Hey Hon" is a Baltimore term of endearment, and now the subject of a protest.

Adam May reports that the debate over copyrighting the phrase heats up in Hampden.

A handful of protesters rallied against the owner of Cafe Hon in Hampden on Sunday, outraged over her trademark of the term "Hon" for commercial purposes.

"She's greedy," said Christina Haas, protester. "She just wants money, and she's cashing in on the culture of Baltimore."

"She's taking something organic and genuine and ours and throwing a price tag on it, and it's absolutely ridiculous," Danielle Robinette, protester.

In her defense, Café Hon owner Denise Whiting said: "I do not own the word 'Hon.'"

The usually perky Whiting--obviously affected by the protesters—said they're misinformed about the basics of business branding.

"I'm a very hard working entrepreneur," Whiting said. "I love Hampden, and I love Baltimore, and I've spent a lot of time and energy doing whatever I can positive for this city."

The manager of the Hontown Gift Shop also creates Hon Christmas ornaments.

"Quite frankly, I think it's sad," said Debbie Howard, manager of Hontown. "I think she's done everything to support the word Hon, the culture of Hon. She supports local artists. She's a wonderful person, and we love her."

A number of customers agree.

"If you're a smart business owner, you trademark your brand. That's just business," said Eric Willison. "I believe what she's done for this neighborhood is great."

Whiting says she has redesigned the "Hon" logo, but she has seen people selling counterfeits. She says that's why she got the trademark in the first place.

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