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Baltimore Woman Trademarked 'Hon:' Restraining Order for Protestor

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 30, 2011 6:41 AM

Denise Whiting is known around Baltimore as the woman who trademarked "Hon"--a local term of endearment that has become so entrenched in the city's culture that there is a yearly festival dedicated to the beehived women who coined the term.

Since the community found out about her not-so-secret desire to control the market for "Hon" merchandise across the city, she and her local businesses have been the subject of protests.

But thanks to a court order, one of those protesters won't be able to get near her anymore.

Steven Akers has been at the forefront of the anti-"Hon" protests, challenging Whiting's right to control a word that arguably belongs to the public, reports The Baltimore Sun.

On Monday, a local judge issued Whiting a restraining order against Akers, barring him from contacting or harassing her.

She claims that he has harassed, terrorized, threatened, cyberbullied, and stalked her, according to the paper.

The real issue here isn't a restraining order. No, it's trademark law.

"Hon," at its very essence, is a slang term for "Honey," that is generally associated with a region and is part of common vernacular.

Trademark law is supposed to protect logos and names that designate a product's origin. Names and words, if not trademarked in visual format or placed on a specific type of product, only identify products if they are unique.

She apparently just trademarked the word "Hon" and reserved the right to plaster it on bumper stickers, plates, napkins, t-shirts, and anything else she can get her hands on.

Now that Steven Akers can't spend his time protesting Denise Whiting, he should definitely get to work on finding a lawyer willing to challenge her offensive trademark.

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