A Reader’s Question for Helene de La Moureyre of ‘Bilum’
Dear Helene de La Moureyre,
You wrote, “… the word BILUM is a valid French trademark which was registered by the French Intellectual Property Registry in august 2005.”
Registering the word BILUM as a trademark in French in 2005 does not, in any way or form, solve the issue at hand.
In fact, registering BILUM as a trademark in French complicates the issue furthermore.
How and why?
1. Because the word BILUM is not a traditional or native word in le langue des français. [I live in French, I know the language.]
2. So, the question to you is: Where and how and why did the trademark owner choose the world BILUM as its trademark?
3. Since there is no word in the français vocabulary for BILUM, how in the world are you (or your group of 3 persons) engaged in making bags; which conveniently means BILUM in Papua New Guinea tok pidgin language?
4. Your engagement in making bags from whatever source is NOT a coincidence under the trademark name BILUM! Period.
5. PNG does not and should not accept your apologies.
6. In fact, we demand that you de-register the BILUM trademark off the French Intellectual Property Registry.
7. If this is not done by December 2009, I will be advising the PNG Embassy in Brussels to take the matter up with the French Embassy, the EU in Brussels, as also to the to the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) who is responsible for the promotion of the protection of intellectual property throughout the world, including Papua New Guinea.
8. Bilum is a growing, grassroots industry which involves 99% women. It has great export potential for Papua New Guinea. We already have PNGean’s making and selling bilums overseas.
9. Your registration of the BILUM trademark and, engagement in making bags, is not a “simple misunderstanding” that can be swept under the carpet with an apology through this website.
Papua New Guinean,
07 August 2009
If you haven’t been following T&D and are out of the loop regarding the above issue, click here to read about the poaching of the PNG bilum and click here to read the French firm Bilum’s initial response.