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Culture Tree is an educational resource organisation committing to create opportunities to learn and experience African culture.
They host a YouTube channel called Yoruba Stars, which teaches young children the Yoruba language.
Culture Tree shared tweets that a British brand called “Timbuktu Global” had trademarked the word “Yoruba” and were opposing anyone from using it.
They stumbled upon this by accident, as they were seeking to trademark the term “Yoruba Stars”. As it was two different terms Culture Tree went ahead and trademarked the term “Yoruba Stars’.
“A few months later, I received an email from the IPO that Timbuktu Global had opposed me registering the trademark products or having anything to do with Yoruba at all.”
Culture Tree said its legal representatives reached out to Timbuktu, which offered to sell the trademarked word to them.
The hashtag #Yorubaisnotforsale began to trend on Twitter, and people were asking why two white people based in Lancashire who have nothing to do with the Yoruba culture in any way wanted to trademark this word?
It felt reminiscent of when Kim Kardashian attempted to trademark the word “Kimono” as the name of her shapewear line.
After a social media call out and an open letter written from the mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa Kim swiftly changed it to “Skims”
Timbuktu Global shared this response via a twitter user’s email:
“By registering Yoruba, we in no way aimed to insult anyone. This was not our intention and never would be. We did not profit from this name and never intended to,”
As of writing this article, Timbuktu Global has now written to Culture Tree that they’ve made an application to surrender their trademark registration of Yoruba.
Culture Tree has written an official statement on their website, which you can read here.
We are unsure as to why the British government sanctioned this in the first place but glad that the right thing is happening.
Yoruba is NOT and NEVER will be for sale.