Burness elicits apology from fashion retailer Zara in Harris Tweed IP dispute

Scottish firm Burness has forced retail giant Zara to apologise for misusing the Harris Tweed trademark.

Earlier this year Zara’s internet trading arm ITX Fashion was selling a product on its website described, but not labelled as, a ‘Harris Tweed’ blazer.

The Harris Tweed Authority (HTA) instructed Burness’ head of contentious IP practice Colin Hulme to negotiate a settlement with ITX, which accepted that as the jackets had not been made from Harris Tweed, they had broken the law.

The fashion firm has made assurances that it will not happen again.

The HTA said it accepted that the incident was “not deliberate” but that it treated the use of its name without permission “with the utmost seriousness”.

It said: “Misuse of the Harris Tweed name risks diluting it and undermines the integrity of an iconic Scottish name.”

The Harris Tweed Act of 1993 ensures the name and symbol can only be used for fabric “handwoven by the islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra in their homes, using pure virgin wool that has been dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides”.

ITX was unavailable for comment.