Conventional Restrictions

These are the familiar, time honoured regulations of Scottish dress within the Clan and Family setting. It is pointless dressing up as something you are not, in a situation where what you are wanting to celebrate is your traditional heritage. Clan Tartans have evolved into statements of identity to be employed, on occasion, in Scottish society.

There are a number of tartans that can apply to situations where no clear clan connection exists. The District Tartans can associate the wearer with regions of Scotland or elsewhere to which there is a connection; National and Universal Trade Tartans or Corporate Tartans can also be used. In short, there are a vast number of tartans from which an appropriate tartan can be found to avoid using a Clan tartan without due cause.

Legal Restrictions

Tartan is not protected by statute, even in Scotland. However there are commercial steps that might be taken to protect a given tartan. The design might be copyrighted, though this could be difficult to enforce even within states complying with the Berne Convention. The woven cloth might be registered under the UK Design Act and this can lead to punishing compensation if others manufacture it, within a UK context. Also, the name of the tartan might be trademarked for the tartan product, within relevant national regulations, but then the design itself is not protected with the name.

Supply Restrictions

When a tartan is made for a corporate group such as a family, a business or local government, it is usually designed and developed by a single designer and weaving concern. In general, they will be the sole suppliers for the tartan except where there is a sufficiently broad market to become generally available.