The Harris Tweed Authority which safeguards the integrity of the Harris Tweed name has successfully sued an American company that used the famous name to try and sell chairs.
It has just settled a dispute with US retailer Euromarket Designs Inc who trade as Crate and Barrel.
In June the authority, based in the Western Isles, discovered that Crate and Barrel was selling goods described using Harris Tweed, when this was not true.
The company referred to its “Harris Tweed Collection” with items labelled as “Harris Tweed Chair” and “Harris Herringbone Chair”.
Neither style of chair contained any Harris Tweed said the authority.
Both products were available for purchase for a number of weeks on Crate and Barrel’s website, its stores and were advertised for sale in its catalogues.
The selling and promotion of the chairs in the UK breaches the Harris Tweed Act 1993 and other rights held by the Authority on behalf of the Harris Tweed industry.
The authority considered such conduct with the utmost seriousness. Misuse of the Harris Tweed name risks dilution of it, and undermines the integrity of an iconic Scottish brand steeped in heritage.
Court proceedings were raised to protect the Harris Tweed brand., and following negotiations, Crate and Barrel explained that its improper use of the name Harris Tweed was not deliberate and no chairs from the Collection had been sold in the UK.
The authority has secured both an appropriate monetary settlement and assurances from Crate and Barrel that there will be no repetition.
Harris Tweed is cloth, hand woven only by the islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra in their own homes, using pure virgin wool that has been dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
This is the definition of Harris Tweed clearly stated in the Harris Tweed Act of 1993 and it ensures that all cloth officially certified with the world-renowned Harris Tweed Orb symbol complies with this definition, making it genuine Harris Tweed – the world’s only commercially produced hand woven tweed.
Sales of Harris Tweed have never been so buoyant, with the demand for the quality, genuine cloth accelerating over recent years. It is an ancient industry which dates back centuries and it is vital to the modern economic, cultural and social fabric of the Outer Hebrides, creating employment for over 350 craftsmen and women.
Lorna Macaulay, chief executive of the Harris Tweed Authority, said: “As we are based in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland it can sometimes seem a long way away from the commercial markets in which Harris Tweed is sold. But we never let this distance hinder our continued efforts to protect our various registered marks throughout the world.
“We use the best legal advisers in the country, the intellectual property litigation specialists at Burness Paull LLP, and we are committed to pursuing any individual or business who attempt to undermine our historic fabric which is vital and valued not just by the people of the Outer Hebrides or Scotland but also by our customers across the globe.”
The Harris Tweed Authority was formed with the passing of the 1993 Act to be custodians of the industry.