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Welsh clothing firm forced to stop using ‘Snowdonia’ after trade mark warning

06 Jul 2021 3 minutes Read
Eryri Clothing’s Instagram feed

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.”

‘Thanked’ 

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.”

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Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago

How can a firm in another country register the name of somewhere here for commercial purposes? Oh I see, they are from an English city and we are just a small country.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
3 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

The Welsh Labour government should have protected the brand name as the Scottish did for the smoked haddock ‘Smokie’ – this can only be produced from the East coast of Scotland.

Welsh Labour has given in to the UK too many times – They must be held to account.

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

DID Welsh Labour give into the UK on this or are you just imagining that it did because you don’t like Welsh Labour? I doubt governments get involved in day to day trademark disputes. With “Smokie” this is a specific saleable product, where its producers have gone to government. The right to put the wrong name of a mountain range on a t-shirt most likely snuck under the radar. Even the greedy Mancs haven’t stopped it because I have a 3 peaks t-shirt not made by them which has Snowdon written on it. Oh and by the way there are… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Chris
Suns ine De se ts
Suns ine De se ts
3 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

Nothing new here US company Patagonia have been going since 1973.

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

So we all stop buying anything “Snowdonia” branded from this Manc shop. Can’t imagine the English are falling over themselves to buy it.
Lets also lobby tourist stores in and around Eryri to source their souvenirs from the local producer instead. And since the EIPO have permitted the trademarking of the English name for our mountains, that ensures that the range is only known by its real name to visitors.

Last edited 3 months ago by Chris
Hannergylch
Hannergylch
3 months ago

Does the IPO’s ruling mean that JD Williams can also send a cease & desist notice to the national park authority?

Rufus Nash
Rufus Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  Hannergylch

Is this a serious question?

So if I trademarked a pencil sharpener called “London” do you honestly think I could send a cease and desist letter and ask them to change the name?

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