Poland: Anger as hipster clothes firm patents “Women’s Strike”

Last week saw a series of deletions of some groups and fan pages using the name “Dziewuchy Dziewuchom” – an umbrella term for a large grassroots group of women who organised the recent Polish Women Strikes.

Many local groups received messages requesting them to change the name or face legal proceedings, while others were deleted by Facebook, seemingly following a request by a couple of admins of the largest (about 100,000 strong) “Dziewuchy Dziewuchom” Facebook group.

The two admins issued the statement explaining their actions, in which they say they applied for the patent in order to “protect the brand”. They informed the others that they had restricted the name through the Patent Office. The application, unknown to group members, was submitted last Summer and the people responsible now intend to use the name to sell, among other things, T-shirts, mugs, cups, pencils, and to advertise products of a private company belonging to the current patent owner. They also intend to carry on the crowdfunding campaign opened in Autumn 2016, which had already collected around 35,000 Polish Zlotys (about £7,000). It is not known what happened to this money.

The company in question is a hipster clothing company selling items such as “vegan wool” garments. Now, it apparently wants to cash in on one of the biggest grassroots movements in Polish contemporary history, a movement which managed to mobilise hundreds of thousands of Polish women in opposition to the proposed abortion ban laws.

Group members are angry to say the least. They say that a small group of admins has hijacked years of work for personal gain. They also state that the patent owners have no right to represent the social movement and are calling for everyone not to co-operate with the “Dziewuchy Dziewuchom” firm.

A new group, Dziewuchy Polskie, has been formed and everyone wanting to get in touch with Polish Women Strike is requested to contact them instead of the old, and apparently incorporated, group.

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