The Icelandic government is escalating its cold war against British supermarket Iceland by launching legal action against the chain over the use of its name.
The Nordic nation has confirmed that it has mounted a legal challenge against the supermarket at the European Union Intellectual Property Office with the goal of “ensuring the right of Icelandic companies to use the word ‘Iceland’ in relation to their goods and services”.
Iceland claims that the supermarket has “aggressively pursued” and won multiple cases against Icelandic companies which use the word Iceland as part of their trademark, “even in cases when the products and services do not compete”.
Supermarket Iceland, which trades under Iceland Foods, holds a Europe-wide trademark registration for the word and Iceland the nation is seeking to invalidate the registration on the basis that it is “exceptionally broad and ambiguous in definition, often rendering the country’s firms unable to describe their products as Icelandic”.
The government said it was concerned that businesses were unable to promote themselves in association with their place of origin.
“This untenable situation has caused harm to Icelandic businesses, especially its small and growing companies.
“A company or product made in Iceland or by an Icelandic company should be able to represent itself using the name of the country.”
It claimed that it has made multiple efforts to negotiate with Iceland Foods but bemoaned the supermarket’s “unrealistic and unacceptable” demands, leaving it with no choice but to proceed with legal action.