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Iceland v Iceland Trade Mark Dispute

Written by Fozia Cheychi on 23 September 2016

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Reports have emerged suggesting that the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs and SA Business Iceland are considering legal action against the supermarket chain. A spokesperson for Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday: “I can confirm that this is being looked into, but no decision has been made”.

Iceland which has its head office in Deeside, Flintshire is one of the best known frozen food retailers in the UK and has been trading under the name for 45 years. The retailer owns the European trade mark for the use of the name ‘Iceland’- this trade mark would be the focal point of any legal action. A potential lawsuit could strip the supermarket of this trade mark.

A spokesperson for Iceland, the supermarket commented “Iceland Foods has traded under the Iceland name in the UK since 1970, and is today one of UK’s most recognised brands. We have also traded as Iceland for many years in other EU countries, and in non-EU countries, including Iceland itself. We are not aware that our use of the Iceland name has ever caused any confusion with Iceland the country”.

Iceland based business claim that they are being preventing from promoting their goods and services that include the name of Iceland- their homeland due to the supermarket’s European registered trade mark.

It is reported that the supermarket objected when Promote Iceland- Iceland’s trade and tourism body attempted to register the country’s name as a trade mark in product categories overlapping with the supermarket’s goods.

Jon Asbergsson, head of Promote Tourism commented “We didn’t make any objections in the beginning, as we were never going to be running any supermarkets”. He continued “But over the course of the years they have been registering the name in several other categories and companies that have Iceland in the name, they (the supermarket) have been objecting to them using the word Iceland in their names or logos”.

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