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UK Company Trademarks Tribal Name ‘Yoruba’, Nigerians Are Pissed

UK Company Trademarks Tribal Name ‘Yoruba’, Nigerians Are Pissed

Nigerians have taken to Twitter to criticize a British clothing retailer for trademarking their tribal word ‘Yoruba. Timbuktu Global is a company based in northwest England.

In 2015, it filed papers to trademark ‘’Yoruba’’ with the UK’s Intellectual Property Office.

This issue, however, only came into the limelight on Sunday. Gbemisola Isimi, the owner of a cultural organization in London, said she faced challenges from the company after trying to trademark the phrase ‘’Yoruba Stars’’.

Yoruba Stars is the name of a program Isimi runs to teach parents, children and toddlers, the Yoruba language.

The UK’s Intellectual Property Office responded to Isimi’s tweet saying their decisions are based on existing laws. They also said that the public can challenge the validity of a trademark.

It now appears that Timbukutu Global has closed its Twitter and Instagram accounts and has also shut down its website. They also sent Ms. Isimi an email to say they filed an application to surrender their ‘’Yoruba’’ trademark registration.

A representative of Timbuktu Global told reporters that the matter has been concluded.

‘’I thought 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,’’ Isimi said.

Ms. Isimi said Timbukutu Global first stopped her from using the word before later proposing that she purchases the trademark from them.

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