Iceland nation in "cold war" with Iceland Foods over trademark claim

The government of Iceland has reacted angrily after a British supermarket chain of the same name registered the word "Iceland" as a trademark, prompting possible legal action from the firm's namesake nation.

"Based on this registration, Iceland Foods has pursued and won multiple cases against Icelandic companies seeking to describe themselves using this word, even in cases when the products and services do not compete," the Reykjavik government said in an emailed statement.

“The concern is that Iceland Foods has received an EU trademark with the EU intellectual trademark office of the word 'Iceland' so [it’s] not just their logo but the name of our country,” Business Iceland lawyer Bergthora Halldorsdottir told dpa.

"Our concerns are that Icelandic companies or products made by Icelandic companies won’t be able to describe themselves using their place of origin as a reference," she added.

"One of the options would be to file a cancellation action with the European Union intellectual property office" and request that "the registration of the word 'Iceland' by Iceland Foods be cancelled."

Previous attempts to negotiate with Iceland Foods regarding their British trademark rights to the word "Iceland" had been "unsuccessful," she said.

British media dubbed the Nordic island nation's dispute with the frozen foods specialist a "cold war," while Iceland Foods reacted on Twitter by suggesting that the country was ungrateful after the company supported its national football team at this summer's European championship finals.

"We supported you during Euro 2016, and now this..." Iceland Foods said.

In an emailed statement, the British firm said it had traded under the Iceland name since 1970 and built "one of the UK’s most recognized brands."

"We have also traded as Iceland for many years in other EU countries, and in non-EU countries including Iceland itself," the company said.

"We are not aware that our use of the Iceland name has ever caused any confusion with Iceland the country."

Last update: Fri, 23/09/2016 - 22:09
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