Iceland (the country) sues Iceland (the supermarket) over name

Trademark stops Icelandic businesses from using country's name when trading in Europe, say politicians


Iceland is suing Iceland over its "exceptionally broad and ambiguous" Europe-wide trademark registration.

Confused? Well, the government of the North Atlantic island nation is taking legal action against the UK supermarket chain of the same name, claiming its businesses are not being allowed to describe themselves using the word "Iceland".

A statement from the Icelandic government said: "This untenable situation has caused harm to Icelandic businesses, especially its small and growing companies. A company… should be able to represent itself using the name of the country."

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A spokesperson added that the supermarket "aggressively pursued and won multiple cases… often rendering the country's firms unable to describe their products as Icelandic".

"The government, with SA Business Iceland, a trade body, and Promote Iceland, a tourism board, want to strip the company of its trademark," reports the Daily Telegraph, adding that the politicians say the supermarket has "benefitted from positive media coverage".

The paper adds that "Iceland Gold, a company that sells fish, and Clean Iceland, which sells products from the Nordic nation wholesale, have both tried and failed to register their names with the EU".

Icelandic officials say the country has tried to resolve the dispute amicably over a number of years, but has faced "unrealistic and unacceptable" demands.

A spokesman for Iceland the supermarket said: "We very much regret that the government of Iceland has apparently decided to take legal action over the use of the name Iceland.

"Contrary to their assertion we have received no recent approaches to achieve an amicable resolution of this issue."

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