Call to boycott fashion chain that forced Welsh firm to stop using ‘Snowdonia’
There are calls to boycott a fashion chain that forced a Welsh clothing company to stop using the word ‘Snowdonia’ on its products.
Manchester-based JD Williams has faced a fierce online backlash after it emerged that it sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter to Eryri Clothing.
This means Eryri Clothing must comply with the order to not use ‘Snowdonia’.
The English retailer has been bombarded by angry messages on social media after it sent the trademark infringement warning.
Mike Nugent said: “JD Williams will not be getting any custom from me and I would fully support a boycott.”
Brian Jenkins said: “Where in Snowdonia are you based? Such a vile bunch of bullies. Boycott JDWilliams and associated companies.”
Gruff Aled said: “I find it awful that you’ve been able to trademark the use of ‘Snowdonia’ on clothing since 2013.
“The region gets no benefit from yourselves, and you can use the name to market your clothing and benefit your company but local businesses can’t. Do the right thing and release the trademark.”
Sid Lymburn said: “Absolutely disgusting behaviour to force a small Welsh business to close down while you profit from the name of one of our landmarks!”
Nigel John Hopkins said: “Don’t deal with this scumbag company. Strong arming a small business like this. You should be ashamed.”
Jamie Thomas said: “So where does a Manchester based company get the idea that they can stop Welsh companies using the name of places in Wales? Sort it out.”
Claire Hopkin said: “Someone (in England) had trademarked our own mountain name and sent a cease and desist letter to Welsh that use it?”
JD Williams has owned the ‘Snowdonia’ trademark for the name on clothing, footwear and headgear products since 2013. It was approved by the European Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and then automatically transferred to the UK IPO after Brexit, according to the Daily Post.
In response Eryri Clothing, which used to go by the name of Snowdonia Eco Friendly Clothing, decided to try to register ‘Eryri’ (Welsh for Snowdonia) as a trademark under the same clothing category in order to “play them at their own game”.
But this request has been rejected by IPO, which told it that the application is “not acceptable”. IPO says ‘Eryri’ would “not be perceived as a trademark by the average customer and would instead be perceived as an indicator that the items of clothing were produced or designed or sold in Eryri/Snowdonia”.
On social media Eryri Clothing said: “So an English company can trade mark Snowdonia and close down a small Welsh business but a small Welsh business can’t trade mark Eryri for clothing purposes only.”
It has also thanked its supporters on social media since it shared the news about the trade mark issue: “We are absolutely overwhelmed by the support we have received in less than 24 hours from customers, followers, creators and independents around the World! We cannot thank you enough.”
The company is appealing the IPO decision on ‘Eryri’ and is seeking advice from Welsh Government and the Welsh Language Commissioner as does so.
IPO said: “Geographical place names are not automatically excluded for registration.
“In assessing whether any place name can function as a trade mark, we have to consider factors including the extent of any current association between the place name and the goods or services intended for protection, and the perception of those relevant consumers likely to encounter the sign when used as a trade mark.
“As part of this application process, we welcome the views of the applicant and any relevant information and evidence they may wish to provide.”