The Scottish Courts website hasn't yet posted the decision, but The Scotsman reports on a decision of the Court of Session, Edinburgh, with regard to allegedly inauthentic Isle of Skye tartan [thanks, Thorsten Lauterbach, for this lead]. This episode was sparked off by a raid on a warehouse in Fife which revealed hundreds of metres of the suspicious cloth. According to the newspaper,
"Lady Dorrian granted an interim interdict to Rosemary Samios, who holds copyright in the Isle of Skye tartan, against Gold Brothers, banning the firm from making, marketing, importing or exporting goods made in the design. The firm is operated by Surinder, Galab and Dildar Singh, of Edinburgh. ...Since acquiring the rights to the tartan in 1992, Mrs Samios had enjoyed "considerable commercial success" granting licences at an initial £12,000 plus a 10% royalty on sales. Owners of rights in tartans are nursing some hostility towards the "tartan tat" element, accusing them of "cultural rape".
Lawyers for Mrs Samios, who is also claiming £150,000 damages, said she was tipped off that wool scarves in the Isle of Skye design and described as "Skye Isles" tartan were being sold in the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, by Gold Brothers.
... Inquiries had established that Gold Brothers was also selling "Skye Isles" and "Bright Skye" scarves, rugs, kilts and hats.
It was alleged the firm had imported from China substantial amounts of cloth in the Isle of Tartan design, and Mrs Samios complained of serious damage to the reputation of the genuine tartan by "its application to cheap products of inferior design, quality and materials".
... Both the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses have urged the city council to intervene over the "tartan tat" shops on the Royal Mile.
The strongest critics include the Scottish Tartan Authority, which claims the Royal Mile looks "like an Eastern bazaar"."
Says the IPKat, the Scottish Register of Tartans Bill, due to be discussed this coming September, will provide an extra level of subject-specific protection, but in the meantime the existing IP rights -- with their various defences and pecularities -- will just have to do. Merpel adds, there seems to be an undertone of anti-Indian hostility in all of this, since Indian entrepreneurs have thrived in the "tartan tat" sector. Let's hope that this is not so and that, either as licensees of legitimate products or as innovators of new tartan designs, the Indians will make a valuable contribution to the commercial welfare of the Scottish economy.
Scottish tartans here
Indian tartans here