can i use 1950s Harris Tweed adverts

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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can i use 1950s Harris Tweed adverts

Post by humbs »

I have bought several vintage Harris Tweed news paper adverts off ebay. They have the Harris Tweed "orb" logo which is still in use and obviously under copyright. I would like to reproduce the entire advert to make craft goods to sell.

Is it the orb logo or the entire advert which may restrict how I use and reproduce the add? How can I find out if the entire advert is still under copy right. I have contacted the Harris Tweed Authority and have asked their advice and they have passed this question on to their legal team because the office staff did not know. They are, quite rightly, very protective of the Harris Tweed brand and I would like a second opinion in the hope that these old adds can be used.

any help would be much appreciated.
many thanks
Humbs - Western Isles
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Re: can i use 1950s Harris Tweed adverts

Post by AndyJ »

Hi humbs,

As you say, the graphic mark is probably in copyright. It appears to have evolved from its earliest version (from around 1909) so it seems likely that copyright in the newer version will still exist. But much more significantly from the point of view of why you want to use the logo, it's a registered trade mark, as is the name Harris Tweed. In fact it is registered in the UK and throughout the EU in a number of classes. This means that there would be a serious risk of your products infringing the Harris Tweed trade mark, in addition to any infringement of copyright.

I am not clear whether the craft goods you wish to sell have any connection with Harris Tweed (for instance are they made from the tweed?), but if this is the case, you will need to negotiate with the Harris Tweed Authority for permission. If your goods are not connected with the tweed, you may also face a claim of passing off if it is found that the public are misled into thinking that the goods have been authorised or produced by the Harris Tweed Authority or the Harris Tweed Company.

There is a specific act of parliament which protects the Harris Tweed brand, and section 5(c) & (d) charge the Harris Tweed Authority with administering and protecting the intellectual property of the Company.

On the basis of all the above, I think you need to negotiate with the Authority to approval for your project.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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