Will John Hopkins Elementary be less of a trademark infringement than was Johns Hopkins, for the name of a somewhat new elementary school on Hopkins Street in New Iberia?
The Iberia Parish School Board picked Johns Hopkins for the name of the elementary school, considering it a consolidation of the Johnston Street and Hopkins Street elementary schools the new one combined.
But Johns Hopkins University has said it considered the elementary school’s name an infringement of its trademark and asked that it be changed.
In Monday’s paper we read that the School Board’s attorney is awaiting some response from Johns Hopkins University about if John Hopkins the elementary school was different enough to not be a problem.
There are at least two John Hopkins schools, one in Florida and one in Mississippi. The board’s attorney said neither had any problem with a local school sharing that name.
While those who have followed this naming issue may understand that Johns Hopkins Elementary, perhaps soon to be John Hopkins Elementary, was named after the consolidation of the two schools it replaces, you can bet in years to come most people will assume it’s named after the same guy as the university and medical center of great fame in Maryland.
At least if the local school was John-Hopkins Elementary, or Johnston-Hopkins Elementary, with the hyphenation, it’d be more clear it was some sort of combination of names and less likely to be assumed it was named after an individual.
A Google search of John Hopkins makes you wade through several pages of references assuming you really wanted things about Johns Hopkins.
When you do find information about John Hopkins, it turns out there were a lot of them — a British actor, an American writer, a British academic, a British conductor, a British composer, an American motorcycle racer, an American football player, a former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, and others.
It’s a reminder of the admonition in the well-known quote from Robert Louis Stevenson, “Don’t write merely to be understood. Write so that you can’t possibly be misunderstood.”
If it’s really too big a deal to completely change the name at this point, how about Johnston-Hopkins Elementary to lessen future confusion?
Or at least John-Hopkins Elementary, to lessen the appearance it’s an individual’s name?
Before we confuse generations of future students at this school, their parents and others who come to our community, why not use this re-naming to make it more clear what the name of this school is really about?