A SMALL victory for the fight against ‘Union Jackery’ has been hailed by the founder of the Keep Scotland the Brand campaign as a win for the islanders who produce Harris Tweed.

Ruth Watson of #KeepScotlandtheBrand praised the Harris Tweed Authority for its swift action following protests about a shop in Inverness stocking Harris Tweed goods surmounted by a label stating “British Tweed” alongside a Union flag. The British Tweed marks have been withdrawn.

READ MORE: Letters: How can we explain the outbreak of Union Jackery?

Alongside Watson, The National has simultaneously been running our own campaign Save Our Scotland Brand, and it was this newspaper that coined the term Union Jackery to describe the increasing number of products grown or made in Scotland which are being promoted as British with a Union flag – all done perfectly legally. Harris Tweed, however, has very strong legal protection – no less than an Act of Parliament of 1993.

READ MORE: Did Tesco just take Union Jackery a step too far?

The National understands that as soon as they were informed that describing something as British Tweed when it is Harris Tweed was possibly contrary to the 1993 Act, the makers immediately agreed to withdraw the branding.

The Act gives the Harris Tweed Authority the sole legal right to “register and maintain in any part of the world intellectual property rights including patents, trade marks and other marks and designs, and to authorise the user of such intellectual property on such lawful terms and conditions as the Authority may think fit”.

The authority’s powers under the Act include the right “to defend against infringement or likely infringement any intellectual property rights so registered and any other intellectual property”.

Twitter user Colin O’Callaghan flagged up the British Tweed sign and as protests mounted, the authority stepped in.

A spokesman for the Harris Tweed Authority said: ‘We’ve noticed, over the past 24 hours, a lot of reaction, and disappointment, to the labelling of certain Harris Tweed products with a Union Jack swing tag.

“The Union Jack and any other labelling on a product using Harris Tweed fabric is branding added by an independent retailer or manufacturer who has bought Harris Tweed and manufactured it into finished goods.

“Sadly, uninformed or misunderstood comments, re-shares and retweets are, in today’s world, damaging to any brand, but perhaps are more so to our brand.”

The authority added on Twitter: “The Union Jack & any other labelling on a product made using HT fabric is branding ADDED by an independent retailer or manufacturer who has bought HT & manufactured it into finished goods.

“The Union Jack labels/tags were NOT produced by us, or by any of the HT mills.”

Watson said: “I think the Harris Tweed Authority acted swiftly and decisively and I applaud them for getting such an immediate result from the manufacturer – who really seems not to have realised what they were doing to the Harris brand.

“I have heard from shopkeepers and tour operators that tourists would come and look at the cloth with interest but leave it when they saw the British Tweed label because they want to take a clearly Scottish souvenir back from Scotland.

“The company behind the British Tweed label is to be commended for responding so positively and quickly when it was pointed out how important clear labels and clear provenance is in promoting the image of Harris, the community, the heritage, quality, and traditions of the island and islanders. I wish more businesses were as responsive and as responsible.

“I think it is important to keep hashtags local and use #keepHarristheBrand #keepScotlandtheBrand in tandem to emphasise the importance of the quality brand which is the island of Harris – and the people who make it such a fabulous place. #keepScotlandtheBrand campaigns to highlight the importance of clear provenance to customer confidence and resulting sales.

“We actively campaign to protect jobs and boost local economies.”