Our 'Money Honey' Trademark Is Denied : Planet Money Bad news from the trademark office. "Muni $ Huni" beat us to the punch.
NPR logo Our 'Money Honey' Trademark Is Denied

Our 'Money Honey' Trademark Is Denied

Bad news from the trademark office: Our application to trademark "Money Honey" has been refused.

This official rejection letter from a lawyer at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office landed in my inbox yesterday.

The rejection had nothing to do with Maria Bartiromo, the CNBC anchor who trademarked her nickname then let the trademark lapse, inspiring us to jump into the fray.

Instead, we ran up against "Muni $ Huni," a trademark registered by one Dae Chang Textile, Inc., of Santa Fe Springs, California.

Dae Chang says it uses the trademark for sleepwear and underwear. A few minutes of searching turned up a single Muni $ Huni item: This "Black Semi-Sheer Ruffle Tank" on eBay.

In the finance world, "Muni" refers to municipal bonds, and it's pronounced MYOO-nee (rhymes with "puny"). So when I first saw Muni Huni, my first thought was "MYOO-nee HYOO-nee."

But of course, that makes no sense; what the hell is "HYOO-nee"? They must mean Money Honey. And, as we learned when we set out to get this trademark, the whole point of trademarks is to prevent confusion among consumers.

Here's the trademark office, explaining why they smacked us down:

The applicant’s mark, MONEY HONEY, is similar to the registrant’s mark, MUNI $ HUNI, and will lead to consumer confusion. The marks are essentially phonetic equivalents and thus sound similar.

Fair enough.