At the core of the dispute are the “hon” trademarks. There are five of them, including her original 1992 mark for the Café Hon logo and her HonFest trademark, each claiming a different exclusive use of the term. But filing a trademark is not the most important thing, Himmelrich says: “The important thing is use.” In order for Whiting to assert a trademark on, say, Hon mugs, she has to have been making, selling, or otherwise purveying mugs with the word “hon” printed on them before anyone else. The same goes for every other use: bumper stickers, T-shirts, license plate surrounds, lampshades, what have you. And if you want to have a gift store with the word “hon” in its name, then, from now on, you’ve got to either cut Whiting in or you can’t do it.