Teresa Millward and Helen Brearley, of Yorkshire Threads, designed a T-shirt with a bike on it which says ‘Cycling Le Tour Route Yorkshire’.
They steered clear of using anything that people may think was official.
But they’ve been advised by Welcome to Yorkshire they may face legal action from Tour organisers Amaury Sport Organisation for using the words ‘Le Tour’ without permission.
The couple, who run a small, family business in Holmfirth, now need ASO consent - which they fear will come with a bill.
Teresa said: “We went to one of the roadshows because the Tour is right on our doorstep and we thought it would be a daft opportunity to pass on.
“We produce T-shirts and we were told that as long as we don’t use the words Le Tour de France, the logo or the Welcome to Yorkshire yellow Y then it was fine.”
But they encountered problems when someone from Welcome to Yorkshire contacted them to say they were potentially in breach of copyright for using ‘Le Tour’.
Welcome to Yorkshire has given them a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ which hasn’t gone down well.
Teresa added: “After reading the list it seems we can only refer to the Tour as ‘the cycling race that can’t be named’.
“So much for local businesses being allowed to play a part in this.”
Vikki Harris, Head of Marketing at Welcome to Yorkshire, said they were just trying to help businesses.
She said: “We are absolutely encouraging Yorkshire businesses to get behind the Grand Départ of the Tour de France and we have been proactive in helping businesses to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“We have seen over 3,000 businesses at Tour de France related roadshows across the county since January last year explaining the size and scale of the event and the restrictions relating to the brand of Le Tour.
“We understand some businesses are frustrated and we don’t want to see anyone getting into trouble around use of the logo or use of the trade marked words, which is why we have produced a brochure detailing business dos and don’ts that anyone can access.
“The Tour is the world’s largest free sporting event, which means the event is part funded by companies on the continent spending millions of euros to access the brand of the Tour de France.
“The owners of the Tour rightly protect the interests of their sponsors by protecting the logo and the words.”
As well as facing restrictions to T-shirt design, public liability fears have been raised.
Teresa added: “We have flat railings but we’ve been told we have to spend money to make it impossible for people to stand on them in case they fall.
“We also have to close the gate in case someone leans on it and falls back, but the only way to close the gate is to lock it. So we face having to lock people out of our shop on the day of the Tour.
“We’ve got to take the opportunity where we can, that’s what business is about.”
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