Non-Indigenous retailer YARN Projects has apologised and withdrawn a claim to trademark the word Tidda after more than 13,000 people signed a petition titled ‘Stop Trademarking Culture.’
Tidda is an Aboriginal word meaning Sister, Aunty or Mentor and can also be used when referring to female friends.
The change.org petition started by Yarli Creative states: “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should continue to have the rights to use our languages and not have this taken away from us, especially by non-Aboriginal people.”
The initial claim was lodged on the 2nd of June 2019 but as of July 27 2020 a withdrawal notice had been lodged with IP Australia.
YARN projects issued a formal apology on their website which reads “I apologise for the hurt this has caused the Indigenous community.”
“The intention was not to claim ownership of the word but to facilitate licensing and promotion and, with the benefit of hindsight and historical context, I realise that this was insensitive.”
Yarli Creative founder and proud Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung and Gamilaroi woman Madison Connors said in an Instagram post “my petition is not a personal attack on the individual. It is not my intention to tear the person down.”
“Although it started with one instance, I think there is a much deeper discussion which needs to be had about protecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures.”
Ms Connors told NIRS “we all need to reimagine the system in which enables people to trademark Aboriginal words” and has some possible solutions that she plans to discuss with IP Australia.
- That IP Australia reforms its processes and develops a policy with the leadership and guidance from an Aboriginal Advisory committee or body to develop a list of words that cannot be trademarked.
- Addresses their employment strategies and creates an Aboriginal Employment policy.
- Employs a team of Aboriginal Advisors with leadership from a manager and Director to ensure the above is adhered too.