The country is arguing that the supermarket name is deceptive
THE government of the Nordic island Iceland has launched legal action against the British retailer that uses the same name.
The country is challenging Iceland Foods’ exclusive ownership of the European-wide trademark registration for the word Iceland which it says is preventing companies from the island from promoting goods and services abroad.
Susan Sneddon, a director in the intellectual property and technology team at Scottish law firm Maclay Murray and Spens, said: “It will be interesting to see how the dispute plays out.
“Trade mark law protects against the registration of trade marks in various circumstances. These include where the trade mark consists of a sign that designates a geographical origin, where the trade mark deceives the public as to the origin of the supermarket’s goods and services and where the trade mark does not have distinctive character.
“The Icelandic government is alleging that the supermarket’s trade marks will confuse the public into thinking the supermarket’s goods come from Iceland.”
She added: “It appears that this may be driven by the fact that the supermarket is opposing a number of trade mark applications made by Icelandic companies for trade marks including the word Iceland.”
Iceland Foods was founded in 1970 and operates more than 800 stores with 23,000 staff across the UK and once had Icelandic majority shareholders.