Language commissioner criticises decision to not grant Welsh trademark
The Welsh Language Commissioner has criticised a decision not to allow a Welsh language trademark.
Aled Roberts has asked the Intellectual Property Office to “reconsider” after it rejected an application from Eryri Clothing.
The Welsh firm tried to trademark the place name of ‘Eryri’ after it was forced to stop using ‘Snowdonia’ on its products.
A spokesperson for the Commissioner said the “fact that ‘Eryri’ is a Welsh name should not affect trademark decisions”.
Eryri Clothing, which used to go by the name of Snowdonia Eco Friendly Clothing, was sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter from Manchester-based fashion chain JD Williams which owns the trademark for ‘Snowdonia’.
It says it decided to try to register ‘Eryri’ as a trademark under the same clothing category in order to “play them at their own game”.
The English retailer has been bombarded by angry messages on social media after it emerged that it sent the trademark infringement warning, with some people calling for a boycott.
A spokesperson for the Welsh Language Commissioner told Nation.Cymru: “The Welsh Language Commissioner can confirm that an enquiry has been received regarding this matter.
“The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 gives the Welsh language official status in Wales.
“The Commissioner will contact the Intellectual Property Office to reaffirm this status and to ask the IPO to reconsider the application. The Commissioner also states that the fact that ‘Eryri’ is a Welsh name should not affect trademark decisions.”
IPO told the Daily Post: “Geographical place names are not automatically excluded for registration.
“In assessing whether any place name can function as a trademark, 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 trademark.
“As part of this application process, we welcome the views of the applicant and any relevant information and evidence they may wish to provide.”