Francis Bacon: 1561 – 1626
Name, though it seem but a superficial and outward matter, yet it carrieth much impression and enchantmentJuly 29, 2010
For three heady months marijuana dealers had something they could only dream of before: the stamp of approval of a federal agency.
On April 1, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office created a new trademark category: “Processed plant matter for medicinal purposes, namely medical marijuana.” The patent office, part of the Department of Commerce, posted the new category on its website.
The change set off a land rush by pot dealers in the 14 states where laws permit medical-marijuana sales.
The patent office received more than 250 pot-related trademark applications in the three months after it created the new trademark category. There were applications for trademarks on “Tartukan Death Weed,” “Pot-N-Candy,” “Namers Nirvana” and numerous businesses incorporating “Green” and “4:20″—a number that pot smokers often associate with weed, sometimes smoking it at 4:20 p.m. and celebrating April 20 as a pro-pot holiday. Two companies applied to trademark psychoactive sodas named Keef Cola and Canna Cola.
The trademark rush began to haze the mellow of pot traders. Some staked claims on rights to long-used names such as like Maui Wowie, Chronic, Purple Haze and Acapulco Gold, made famous by comedian Tommy Chong more than 30 years ago. Arguments flared over whether such long-used pot names are subject to “prior art,” meaning their use in the past precludes a trademark.
Weed entrepreneurs hired mainstream intellectual-property law firms like Knobbe Martens in Southern California and Weide & Miller (that’s right) in Las Vegas to register their weed trade names.
But last week the patent office snuffed out the promise of federal recognition. After questions about the new pot-trademark category from a Wall Street Journal reporter, a patent-office spokesman said the office planned to remove the new pot classification by week’s end, and the category is now off the website.
Marijuana dealers, their appetites whetted by the three months of hope, said they haven’t given up. Scott Ridell, a brand-development consultant for Panatella Brands, a Colorado pot-grower consortium, said his clients are still “moving forward” with branding efforts and hope the patent office will grant trademarks.
Keep smoking the weed dude, you’re in for a long wait.
When it comes to naming kids, anything goes here in the United States.
You can burden your offspring with whatever bizarre name catches your fancy (and movie stars usually do).
Other countries are not easy-going. Sweden, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, Denmark and China all have baby-naming laws to protect the innocent. Courtesy of CNN, these are the countries that outlaw bad baby names.
Enacted in 1982, the Naming law in Sweden was originally created to prevent non-noble families from giving their children noble names, but a few changes to the law have been made since then.
The part of the law referencing first names reads: “First names shall not be approved if they can cause offense or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it, or names which for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name.”
If you later change your name, you must keep at least one of the names that you were originally given, and you can only change your name once.
Rejected names: “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb111163 (pronounced Albin, naturally) was submitted by a child’s parents in protest of the Naming law. It was rejected. The parents later submitted “A” (also pronounced Albin) as the child’s name. It, too, was rejected.
Also rejected: Metallica, Superman, Veranda, Ikea and Elvis.
Accepted names: Google as a middle name, Lego.
In Germany, you must be able to tell the gender of the child by the first name, and the name chosen must not be negatively affect the well being of the child. Also, you can not use last names or the names of objects or products as first names.
Whether or not your chosen name will be accepted is up to the office of vital statistics, the Standesamt, in the area in which the child was born. If the office rejects your proposed baby name, you may appeal the decision. But if you lose, you’ll have to think of a different name. Each time you submit a name you pay a fee, so it can get costly.
When evaluating names, the Standesamt refers to a book which translates to “the international manual of the first names,” and they also consult foreign embassies for assistance with non-German names. Because of the hassle parents have to go through to name their children, many opt for traditional names such as Maximilian, Alexander, Marie and Sophie.
Rejected names: Matti was rejected for a boy because it didn’t indicate gender.
Approved names: Legolas and Nemo were approved for baby boys.
3. New Zealand
New Zealand’s Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act of 1995 doesn’t allow people to name their children anything that “might cause offence to a reasonable person; or [...] is unreasonably long; or without adequate justification, [...] is, includes, or resembles, an official title or rank.” Officials at the registrar of births have successfully talked parents out of some more embarrassing names.
Rejected names: Stallion, Yeah Detroit, Fish and Chips, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy, Sex Fruit, Satan and Adolf Hitler
Approved names: Benson and Hedges (for a set of twins), Midnight Chardonnay, Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence
In Japan, one given name and one surname are chosen for babies, except for the imperial family, who only receive given names. Except for a few examples, it is obvious which are the given names and which are the surnames, regardless of in what order the names have been given. There are a couple thousand “name kanji” and “commonly used characters” for use in naming babies, and only these official kanji may be used in babies’ given names. The purpose of this is to make sure that all names can be easily read and written by the Japanese. The Japanese also restrict names that might be deemed inappropriate.
Rejected names: Akuma, meaning “devil.”
Denmark’s very strict Law on Personal Names is in place to protect children from having odd names that suit their parents’ fancy. To do this, parents can choose from a list of 7,000 pre-approved names, some for girls, some for boys.
If you want to name your child something that isn’t on the list, you have to get special permission from your local church, and the name is then reviewed by governmental officials. Creative spellings of more common names are often rejected.
The law states that girls and boys must have names that indicate their gender, you can’t use a last name as a first name and unusual names may be rejected. Of the approximately 1,100 names that are reviewed each year, 15-20 percent of the names are rejected. There are also laws in place to protect rare Danish last names.
Rejected names: Anus, Pluto and Monkey.
Approved names: Benji, Jiminico, Molli and Fee.
Most new babies in China are now basically required to be named based on the ability of computer scanners to read those names on national identification cards. The government recommends giving children names that are easily readable, and encourages Simplified characters over Traditional Chinese ones.
Parents can technically choose the given name, but numbers and non-Chinese symbols and characters are not allowed.
Also, now, Chinese characters that can not be represented on the computer are not allowed. There are over 70,000 Chinese characters, but only about 13,000 can be represented on the computer. Because this requirement is a new one, some citizens are having their name misrepresented, and some have to change their names to be accurately shown on the identification cards.
Rejected names: “@”: Wang “At” was rejected as a baby name. The parents felt that the @ symbol had the right meaning for them. @ in Chinese is pronounced “ai-ta” which is very similar to a phrase that means “love him.”
Landon Donovan’s last-minute goal in the World Cup was a joyous moment. With the most amazing late-game moment in American soccer, our national team beat Algeria 1-0 to reach the second round of the global tournament.
“This team embodies what the American spirit is about,” Donovan said. “We just keep going. And I think that’s what people admire so much about Americans. And I’m damn proud.”
Exactly, Landon. That was my thought. We Americans are damn proud of being American. So why does it say “US” on your team shirt?
The Fourth of July is as good a day as any to ponder the question of why we, as a nation, don’t give more of a damn about our national name. If we think of ourselves as Americans, and we live in what we call America, why do we have to refer to our nation as ‘US’ on the playing fields of the world?
An event such as the World Cup brings the issue into sharp relief. In no other sporting event in the world is national pride so much at stake. Alongside nations with full, proper names such as England, Spain, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, etc., US seems such a sorry excuse for a name. If anything, it should be USA which, of itself, is what Washington Irving referred to as “a cold national cipher” for a political construct, the United Sates of America.
From the start, many people recognized that United States of America was unsatisfactory as a name. I was not surprised to learn that considerable thought was given by early Congresses to the possibility of renaming our country.
One problem people had with the United States of America was that it provided no convenient adjectival form. A citizen would have to be either a United Statesian or some other clumsy locution. American was deemed to be unsuitable as it might be thought of as referring to inhabitants of 36 other nations on two continents, North and South America.
Several other possibilities were considered – the United States of Columbia, Appalachia, Alleghania and Freedonia. We would then be citizens of Columbia or Appalachia, etc. None found sufficient support to displace the prevailing name. By default we became citizens of the United States of America, or the United States, or the USA, or the US. But not citizens of America.
So, in effect, we gave away ‘America’ out of a misplaced sensitivity to other nations who consider themselves anything but American. Isn’t that typically American? Of course, Canadians like to think of themselves as part of North America when it suits their business and political interests, but a trifle too quick to point out they are Canadian first and foremost. And how much thought do the people of Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia give to being American?
That leaves us, the American people, to sing of America The Beautiful, pursue the American Dream and to celebrate America and being American on Independence Day. We are collectively embraced in presidential addresses as “fellow Americans”. God is invoked to bless America. And yet our national teams bear a meager, abrupt and incomplete proxy for a name. US.
How much more patriotically inspiring it would be see Team America walk out at the next World Cup.
Happy 234th birthday, America.