BY PETER KRANZ
YOU MAY HAVE heard about the French company that has trademarked the word bilum. We mentioned it on PNG Attitude last year.
It makes a classy range of shoulder bags from recycled material which is sold in Europe.
On its website the company says:
All rights of trademarks, designs, texts and all other products are under Bilum sole copyright. Modifications, reproductions or any imitation or copy is forbidden. However, links towards the website are allowed without any specific authorisation.
I emailed them and explained that bilum was a generic word for a traditional hand-woven bag in PNG and had been in common usage for at least 100 years.
Hello, Yes, I know and I mentioned it on the web site (unfortunatly only in french). I have a lot of respect for the traidtionnel papua new guinea hand made bag, and explained that. Thank’s for your mail. Hélène”
I don’t think the company intends to affect anyone making or selling bilums in PNG. However if a PNG business started selling bilums in France and used the word bilum it might be a different story.