Nigerians React As UK White Owned Clothing Company Trademarks the Word “Yoruba”, Bans Use by Others

Nigerians React As UK White Owned Clothing Company Trademarks the Word “Yoruba”, Bans Use by Others

- The move by a British company to stop people from registering the word "Yoruba" has backfired on them

- After outrage against the move spilled on Twitter, the firm deleted its social media pages to save face

- Though the right of the word has been handed over, conversations around their action still grow on social media

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There was wild outrage on Twitter as a white-owned clothing company made a move to trademark the word “Yoruba”.

On Sunday, May 23, a lady, Gbemisola Isimi who owned CultureTree, called out the company for appropriating a word it does not have any affiliation with.

Outrage as White-owned clothing firm trademarks the word "Yoruba", legally bans use by others
Man dressed with an Egungun (a Yoruba character) mask performing during a ritual dance. Photo source: Jorge Fernández
Source: Getty Images

Speaking with the BBC, the lady said she saw the debacle when she was trying to register the words “Yoruba Stars” for her programme that teaches parents and kids the Yoruba language.

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She said:

"I thought it was strange it was allowed to happen. I explained to them that Yoruba is not just a word, it’s the people, the religion, a language of over 50 million people all over the world, not just in Nigeria.”

She went ahead to say that Timbuktu Global initially challenged her use of the word before they made a proposition that the trademark could be bought if she wanted it.

There were people on Twitter who even said that even the company’s name “Timbuktu”, is the name of a city in Mali.

A law graduate and co-founder of Atelewo, Ibrahim who found the act by the British company very terrible spoke with He said that there are relative rules by countries that forbid patenting significant names.

According to him, such is stipulated under the World Intellectual Property Organisation guidelines in collaboration with the World Trade Organisation.

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He disclosed:

“The agreement provides protection for member states' with respect to names, armorial bearings, flags and other emblems as well as official signs and hallmarks indicating control and warranty adopted by them.”

Ibrahim stated that the company registered the word in 2015 without using it gives too much room for concern. He added that their statement that they have been “protecting” the trademark at great cost tends toward some ill intention.

It should, however, be noted that the company moved to hand over the name, saying “the matter has been concluded”.

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In other news, a Yoruba man with the Twitter handle @sarnchos on Tuesday, May 25, revealed how a kind Hausa man had been loyal for almost 30 years to his family.

In an early thread he made in 2019, he wrote about how the man who was over 90 at that time had been keeping his father’s property since his dad’s demise in 1992.


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