Iceland, the country, considers suing Iceland, the supermarket

Iceland and Iceland - not immediately alike
Iceland and Iceland - not immediately alike

A cold war is in the offing after the Icelandic government confirmed that it is considering launching a lawsuit against British supermarket Iceland over its name.

Iceland’s ministry of foreign affairs confirmed that it is mulling filing a suit against the frozen foods giant, 45 years after it was founded.

“I can confirm that this is being looked into, but no decision has been made,” said a a spokesman.

A government statement explained that a group of Icelandic parties, including the government, are looking at filing a “cancellation action” against the supermarket’s Europe-wide trademark registration for the name “Iceland”.

Agency Promote Iceland stressed that it has no intention of forcing Iceland Foods to give up its brand, but wants to ensure that the supermarket does not prevent Icelandic firms from registering the name “Iceland” across the UK or EU.

“We are looking for a ‘live and let live’ outcome,” said Promote Iceland MD Jon Asbergsson.

The government said the chain has launched and won “multiple cases” against Icelandic companies for using the word, “even in cases when the products and services do not compete”.

“Any decision about proceeding with this claim will only be made after full consideration of the interests of Icelandic companies and our people,” the government added.

A spokesman for Iceland said: “Iceland Foods has traded under the Iceland name in the UK since 1970, and is today one of the UK’s most recognised brands.

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