Friday 13 September 2013

Guardians of the Orb : Know your Certification Marks

Sally Cooper keeping us up to date, warm and well loved on the delightful ITMA lecture programme

GUARDIANS OF THE [HARRIS TWEED] ORB is the title of a talk given last evening (12 September 2013) by Colin Hulme of Burness Paull in Edinburgh – though an alternative title could well be HARRIS TWEED – A WELL-LOVED BRAND. Not wanting to spoil things for those planning to attend this talk in Leeds next Monday - still time to book, this note is limited to information that is stored away for future use (e.g. Quiz nights).

  •  The Harris Tweed Certification Trade Mark is the oldest British certification trade mark still in use  
  • A heroine in the history of Harris Tweed is the Countess of Dunmore who, in the 1800s, was passionate about clothing made from this tweed produced in the islands of the Outer Hebrides
  •  The Harris Tweed Act 1993 established the Harris Tweed Authority (taking over from the Harris Tweed Association)
  •  Part of the definition of Harris Tweed set out in the Act is that it’s “a tweed which has been handwoven by the islanders at their homes”
  • 1996 was a high point in the history of Harris Tweed when 7.6 million yards were spun (think of all those jackets !)
  •  Japan is currently the largest market for Harris Tweed
Colin talked further about the (legal) protections in place for Harris Tweed, not only in the United Kingdom but in other countries of the world. But what’s most important to Harris Tweed are the protections it gains from (brand) popularity and mystique. The Authority finds its best policemen are its loyal customers, and also finds that sometimes it’s appropriate to draw back from circumstances where legal action might be threatened (or taken) to protect the brand. This writer found herself recalling seminars in past times on the branding attached to successful films (say, STAR WARS) and pondering whether the time has come for “well-loved brand” to be a stand-alone term in the legal lexicon ?

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