Welsh clothing firm forced to stop using ‘Snowdonia’ after trade mark warning
A Welsh clothing firm has been forced to stop using the word “Snowdonia” after a trade mark infringement warning.
Eryri Clothing, which was previously known as Snowdonia Eco Friendly Clothing, had used ‘Snowdonia’ on its products but recently received a ‘cease and desist’ letter from Manchester-based fashion chain JD Williams.
That firm has owned the trade mark 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.
This means Eryri Clothing has to comply with the order to drop using ‘Snowdonia’ on its products.
In response the local firm decided to try to register ‘Eryri’ (Welsh for Snowdonia) as a trade mark 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.”