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Nigerians on Twitter Criticise British Clothing Firm for Trademarking the Word “Yoruba”

Timbuktu Global, which is based in north-west England, filed papers to trademark “Yoruba” with the UK’s Intellectual Property Office in 2015.But this only came to light when on Sunday, Gbemisola Isimi, the owner of a cultural organisation in London, said she was challenged by the company after trying to trademark the phrase “Yoruba Stars”. That’s the name of the programme she runs to teach parents, children and toddlers the Yoruba language. Ms Isimi said Timbuktu Global first opposed her use of the word before later proposing she purchase the trademark off them. “I feel this is the height of cultural appropriation,” she wrote on Twitter. In response to Ms Isimi’s tweets, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office said their decisions are based on existing laws and that the public can challenge the validity of a trademark. It appears that Timbuktu Global has since closed down its Twitter and Instagram accounts and has shut down its website. They have also emailed Ms Isimi to say they have filed an application to surrender their “Yoruba” trademark registration.