No thaw in relations between two Icelands as dispute worsens

13 December 2016 - Janet Bird

iceland store

A hoped for thaw in relations between British frozen food retailer Iceland and the country of the same name has failed to materialise.

A delegation sent by the supermarket chain to Icelandic capital Reykjavik to try and resolve an increasingly bitter trademark dispute over the name 'Iceland' apparently met a cool reception from the island's government.

The two Icelands have been at loggerheads for some time over trademark issues, with the nordic nation growing increasingly frustrated by the stance the grocer has taken against Icelandic businesses who want to use the name 'Iceland' to brand their goods.

Things came to a head recently when the country's government mounted a legal challenge at the European Union Intellectual Property Office in a bid to gain permission for Icelandic companies to use the word 'Iceland' when marketing their products.

Iceland Foods had Icelandic majority shareholders and Icelandic representatives on its board for seven years to 2012 and the retailer claims that none of them ever raised concerns about the company's branding.

The grocer also stressed it has only ever tried to prevent other food and retail companies using the name, which it felt could have led to confusion over the brand.

However, the Icelandic government said it defied logic and was untenable for a country's name to be registered as a trademark to a private company.

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