Welsh trade marks: Love unites, or does it?


30th June 2022

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has come under criticism recently for allowing a number of commonplace Welsh words to be registered as trade marks.

This article is available to read in both English and Welsh language below.

Fizzy Foam Ltd, a company that manufactures and sells bath products and candles in Bridgend, successfully registered the following Welsh words in Class 4 (as applicable to candles) in November 2021:

  • “Aur Cymru” meaning Welsh Gold
  • “Hiraeth” meaning longing/yearning for home
  • “Cariad” meaning Love

As well as the English terms “Welsh Gold” and “Welsh Cake”.

A trade mark is a monopoly right to use the word(s) registered in the applicable Class to the exclusion of all others. As such, Fizzy Foam can prevent anybody else using these words in relation to candles in the UK, much to the chagrin of other candle producers. Interestingly, Fizzy Foam’s application to register “Cwtch” (meaning hug/cuddle) was withdrawn, suggesting that it was successfully opposed by another user.

Words, designs, letters, numerals, colours, sounds or the shape of goods or their packaging can be registered as a trade mark. A key requirement for registration is that the mark must have a distinctive character and not be “customary in the current language” and established practices of the trade. All three of the marks listed above are of course customary in Welsh and are apparently commonly used by artisan candle makers so should have arguably been refused registration on absolute grounds.

Fizzy Foam had previously had an application to register the words “Handmade Welsh Candle” refused by the IPO in November 2020, although this was possibly due to the descriptive nature of the words. Perhaps more importantly (and at the root of the current criticism), applications to register the word “Love” have repeatedly been refused by the IPO (which is based in Newport). The word “Cariad” should not be treated any differently.

It seems highly likely that Fizzy Foam’s registrations will be challenged by competitors in the future.

If you would like advice on how trade marks can be used to protect your brand, whether your proposed applications are likely to be granted or advancing or defending allegations of invalidity, please contact a member of our Intellectual Property team.

A yw cariad yn uno?

Cafodd y Swyddfa Eiddo Deallusol (SED) ei barnu yn ddiweddar am ganiatáu i nifer o eiriau cyffredin Cymraeg gael eu cofrestru fel nodau masnachol. Mae ‘Fizzy Foam Ltd’ yn gwmni sy’n cynhyrchu a gwerthu cynnyrch bath a chanhwyllau ym Mhen-y-bont. Fe lwyddodd Fizzy Foam i gofrestru’r geiriau canlynol yn Nosbarth 4 (sydd yn gymwys i ganhwyllau) ym mis Tachwedd 2021:

  • Aur Cymru
  • Hiraeth
  • Cariad

Yn ogystal, fe lwyddodd Fizzy Foam i gofrestru y termau Saesneg “Welsh Gold” a “Welsh Cake”.

Mae nodau masnachol yn rhoi’r hawl i ddefnyddio’r gair / geiriau sydd wedi eu cofrestru yn y Dosbarth perthnasol, gan wahardd unrhyw un arall rhag defnyddio’r gair yn yr un cyd-destun. O’r herwydd, fe all Fizzy Foam atal unrhyw un arall rhag defnyddio’r geiriau yng nghyd-destun canhwyllau yn y DU. Yn ddifyr iawn, gwrthodwyd cais Fizzy Foam i gofrestru’r gair ‘Cwtch’, sy’n awgrymu bod y cais wedi cael ei wrthod (yn llwyddiannus) gan ddefnyddiwr arall.

Mae modd cofrestru geiriau, dyluniadau, llythrennau, rhifau, lliwiau, synau, siâp nwyddau neu eu pecyn fel nod masnach. Gofyniad hanfodol er mwyn cofrestru yw bod yn rhaid i’r nod gael nodwedd nodedig, ac nad yw’n “customary in the current language or … established practices of the trade”. Wrth gwrs, mae’r holl dermau sydd wedi eu nodi uchod yn eiriau cyffredin yn y Gymraeg ac yn debyg yn cael eu defnyddio’n gyffredin gan wneuthurwyr canhwyllau artisan, ac felly dylai’r cais i’w cofrestru fod wedi cael ei wrthod ar sail absoliwt.

Fe wrthododd SED gofrestru’r geiriau “Handmade Welsh Candle” yn dilyn cais a wnaed gan Fizzy Foam ym mis Tachwedd 2020; fodd bynnag mae’n debygol mai’r rheswm am hyn yw natur ddisgrifiadol y geiriau. Efallai ei bod hi’n bwysig nodi bod ceisiadau i gofrestru’r gair ‘Love’ wedi eu gwrthod nifer o weithiau gan y SEN (sydd wedi eu lleoli yng Nghasnewydd). Ni ddylai’r gair “Cariad” gael ei drin yn wahanol.

Ymddengys yn debygol iawn y caiff cofrestriad Fizzy Foam ei herio yn y dyfodol gan wrthwynebwyr.

Os hoffech unrhyw gyngor ar sut gall nodau masnachol eu defnyddio er mwyn gwarchod eich brand, neu a fydd unrhyw gais gennych yn debygol o lwyddo, neu am gyngor ar sut i amddiffyn unrhyw honiadau o annilysrwydd, cysylltwch gydag unrhyw aelod o’n tîm Eiddo Deallusol.

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