NEW: University of Arkansis renames computer registration system known as ISIS
Denver bookstore has been vandalized many times recently
More than 270 businesses and products have ISIS in their trademarks
What’s in a name? Apparently a lot of expensive headaches.
Isis Books & Gifts in Denver has the misfortune of sharing its name with the terrorist group.
Over the weekend, someone threw a brick through the sign outside the business. It’s the fourth time in recent months someone has vandalized the bookstore.
“We’re all very heartbroken (about the Paris attacks) so I don’t know if somebody walking down the street just saw our name on the sign and kind of lost it for a moment and threw a rock through it,” Karen Charboneau-Harrison, the store owner, told CNN affiliate KDVR. “Or if it was an ignorant person who actually thought this was a bookstore for terrorists, I don’t know.”
Isis Books & Gifts takes its name from the Egyptian goddess of childbirth and healing. It’s a spiritual store that has been in business 35 years and embraces many faiths.
“What we do here is we celebrate the world wisdom traditions,” said Charboneau-Harrison. “We have books about Hinduism, Buddhism, Goddess Spirituality, Native American shamanism, really the gamut. So what we are about is people’s spiritual paths.”
A problem for lots of businesses
The ISIS moniker isn’t a headache just for the Denver bookstore.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, more than 270 products or business names among active federal trademarks use “ISIS.” They range from pharmaceutical companies to wig makers to phone apps.
Among them is Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS).
It told CNNMoney it’s now considering changing its name. No final decision has been made and it’s not clear what new names are being considered.
“Even though people know we’re not associated with the terrorist group, the name itself has so many negative connotations,” said D. Wade Walke, the company’s vice president for corporate communications and investor relations. “It’s obviously not getting better over time.”
Change the name
As for the Denver bookstore, owner Charboneau-Harrison says her business is getting support from customers and total strangers.
“We get calls from people who say I’ve never shopped there but I’m 100% supporting you all, and they’re all sending us love and light and I know that is creating protection around us.”
The store is also lobbying on its Facebook page to get the world to refer to the terrorist group by its Arab acronym: al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham or Daesh. Not only is it an accurate name for the group, it’s similar to an Arabic word that means to crush under your foot.
And frankly, ISIS hates the term. It’s threatened to cut out the tongue of anyone who utters it.
The Pentagon started using Daesh last year. The French government is on the bandwagon. President Obama has used it, too, since last week’s attacks.
“Do not legitimize them and their aspirations by calling them a STATE, as in the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, or just Islamic State,” the bookstore wrote on its Facebook post. “These names only support their delusions of power.”
“We deliberately named ourselves ‘Isis’ to honor the goddess and to have the protection of that goddess,” said Charboneau-Harrison. “So, we’re not changing our name.”
Acronym was ‘old school’
Meanwhile, the University of Arkansas is upgrading and renaming a computer registration system known as ISIS, for Integrated Student Information System, university spokesman Steve Voorhies told CNN.
“In tech terms, the acronym was ‘old school’ and out of date,” he said. “The new system will be called UAConnect – as before students can register for classes, check grades, update personal information and apply for graduation and do other related things.”
The university has had ISIS since 2004. The name change was approved in August and goes into effect in January.
Voorhies said most people doesn’t know what the acronym ISIS means.
“UAConnect describes what it is,” said University of Arkansas Interim Chancellor Dan Ferritor. “ISIS doesn’t mean anything, except right now it’s got some pretty negative meanings.”
CNN’s Ana Cabrera and Sara Weisfeldt reported from Denver and Ed Payne wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s James Dinan contributed to this report.