Is it true that the HONK! organizing committee in Somerville has trademarked the name in the US?
Yes. We filed for a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office on March 6, 2019 for the name HONK! in the context “Organizing community festivals featuring primarily non-commercial street and brass bands that are community-based and/or socially/politically active and also providing support services”.
Why did we do this?
We have had concerns for some time about the possibility that some commercial enterprise might decide at some point to co-opt the HONK! movement by creating a strictly commercial festival and calling it HONK! We have taken one small step to reduce that possibility by submitting a trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for “HONK!” While this alone will not prevent a commercial HONK! festival from happening, it will provide us with some level of legal recourse. The intent here is to protect the name “HONK!” for all of us.
Can I continue to call my existing festival a HONK! festival as of March 6, 2019?
Absolutely. We have no desire to adversely impact existing festivals.
Who holds the trademark?
As filed, it is held by the individuals on the Somerville HONK! organizing committee. We are open to discussing future ownership of the trademark.
Are you planning to charge to use the name?
What about new festivals?
If you would like to start a honk festival we would be happy to talk with you about what you are thinking and how your vision connects with ours.
How does this change things?
Our intent is not to change anything about this wonderful community of HONK! festivals that have sprung up.