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Readings of the bill took place in early 1991 and, after some procedural difficulties After 82 years as voluntary guardian of the Harris Tweed industry and Orb trade marks, the Harris Tweed Association became the Harris Tweed Authority, a legal statutory body charged under UK law with safeguarding the industry in the years ahead.
The definition of Harris Tweed contained in the Harris Tweed Act 1993 clearly defines Harris Tweed as a tweed which - "(b) possesses such further characteristics as a material is required to possess under regulations from time to time in force under the provisions of schedule 1 to the act of 1938 (or under regulations from time to time in force under any enactment replacing those provisions) for it to qualify for the application to it, and use with respect to it, of a harris tweed trade mark.""to make provision for the establishment of a Harris Tweed Authority to promote and maintain the authenticity, standard and reputation of Harris Tweed; for the definition of Harris Tweed; for preventing the sale as Harris Tweed of material which does not fall within the definition; for the Authority to become the successor to The Harris Tweed Association Limited; and for other purposes incidental thereto." The entire content and provisions of the Act can be found at the website managed by the United Kingdom's National Archives.
A draft bill for a Harris Tweed Act was also drawn up to reflect these proposed changes with the express aim of protecting the intellectual property of Harris Tweed as a local asset to the communities of the Outer Hebrides.
Those merchants who built up a business dealing in tweeds often became independent producers in their own right.The Harris Tweed Orb Mark is the United Kingdom's oldest certification mark and is recognised all over the world.Certification marks are trademarks with a difference.They would take orders for Harris Tweed, send the yarn to their chosen weavers, take back the tweeds for finishing, either locally by hand, or later by some mainland finishing company, and finally dispatch the tweed to the customer.In addition to commissioning tweeds, the general merchants also bought tweed from local weavers, using the truck system i.e. The merchants then sold the tweed to contacts in the south of the country.
The association concluded the best option was to transform the association into a public law body, i.e., legal persons governed by public law with statutory functions, one of which would be safeguarding the Orb trade mark.