Wales...Welsh cake, Cariad & Hiraeth have been trademarked, how can this be!

How can this be right? This is our language so how can you copy right it to a product? This means that the copyright holders can sue you if the words are used without permission! What a mad world we live in!

A decision by the Intellectual Property Office to allow the words "Welsh cake", "cariad" and "hiraeth" to be trademarked has been described as "astonishing". The terms have been registered by a candlemaker called Fizzy Foam Ltd in Bridgend, which owns the Handmade Welsh Candle brand.

The company has trademarked "cariad", which means "love" in Welsh, and "hiraeth", which means "longing for home". The decision means that other businesses with similar products are prevented from using the same terms and has angered other candlemakers.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, Amanda James of the Gweni candle-making business in Bridgend, who had the word "cariad" on her candle range, described the decision as "completely ridiculous". She said: "I'm in contact with a number of fellow candle-making businesses and I know that two are looking to put revocation applications on these terms.

"I will more than likely do the same because I also have a range that uses the term 'cariad' and according to this trademark that Fizzy Foam has, according to them I won't be able to use it. So I will always apply for revocation with that particular term."

She added: "I would have to bin them because I certainly don't want to go to court for it. I don't think I should be in the position to bin the range. I think the word 'cariad' is evocative, I think the word 'cariad' is an everyday word, I think 'cariad' is a word we use all the time. I don't see why I should bin the range, but I won't have a choice. Because of that, obviously, it will have a financial implication on my business."

When asked what the words meant to her, the businesswoman added: "I don't think these words should belong to anybody. I don't think they should be somebody's intellectual property. They are everyday words in our Welsh language - they are beyond the scope of the Intellectual Property Office I would argue. Where does it stop?

"We will then have the trademark on words such as 'mam' or 'dad', 'thank you' and 'diolch' - all of these celebratory terms we use from day to day. Where does it end? There must have been someone half asleep at the Intellectual Property Office when this was passed quite frankly because it's absolutely astonishing that these words now belong in the candle business to this particular company in Bridgend and nobody else can use them. It's completely ridiculous.

"I think it's something that is going to be more and more of a problem. You have to look for trademarked words and you certainly have to be a bit more mindful of what you are doing when you are naming a new candle.

"I think that it is astonishing really that we have come to this quite frankly, I know that I don't have a candle range with the word 'hiraeth' but I know it was certainly something that I was thinking of doing. And I know that this particular company has Welsh cake, cariad, and hiraeth, but they've also got Welsh gold - Aur Cymru, so there is another term there as well, which they've sort of taken ownership of.

"It will certainly make me think twice about the names that I use and also it'll make me think twice about trademarking the names that I have got that I've created myself, which aren't in everyday use."

Amanda James of the Gweni candle-making company has called the trademark decision "absolutely ridiculous"
Amanda James of the Gweni candle-making company called the decision "absolutely ridiculous" 

Intellectual property lawyer Jonty Gordon, from Amgen Law, also expressed his shock that the request for a trademark had been granted. During the radio show, he said: "I am surprised that they have been successful in their application. The Intellectual Property Office has repeatedly refused to register descriptive words of this nature when there is a potential link or contextual link between the word and the products.

"I've previously advised and made applications for similar words, and they have been rejected. I think there is certainly a case for the Intellectual Property Office to have their policy reviewed because this is a mistake and it has slipped through. I also think that these trademarks are open to challenge by producers of these products, who already have it or already use that mark on their products. I think they would have a separate case for prior art as it were, but I think they have a very strong case in seeking a review and potentially challenging the validity of this trademark."

Fizzy Foam Ltd has declined to comment.

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