Iceland's foreign ministry has confirmed that it will proceed with its already-commenced legal action against Iceland Foods over the British retailer's trademark registration of the word "Iceland" after talks between the two parties failed to bring about a resolution.
Iceland initiated legal action last month with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”), filing a motion for “Revocation & invalidity” in connection with United Kingdom-based Iceland Foods Ltd’s trademark registration for the country name. According to a statement from the country’s foreign ministry, "Iceland Foods has aggressively pursued and won multiple cases against Icelandic companies which use ‘Iceland’ in their representation or as part of their trademark, even in cases when the products and services do not compete.” The spokesman further noted: “The goal is to ensure the right of Icelandic companies to use the word ‘Iceland’ in relation to their goods and services,” it added.
On the heels of Iceland’s filing, Iceland Foods sent legal representatives to Reykjavik to try and resolve the dispute. The parties met in the capital on Friday but failed to find any resolution.
Iceland's foreign ministry said that at the meeting Iceland Foods refused to relinquish exclusive control of the word "Iceland" and presented proposals that fell short of the country's expectations. Therefore, Iceland said, it would proceed with legal action to invalidate the retailer's trademark.
"The registration of a country name that enjoys highly positive national branding to a private company defies logic and is untenable," the ministry said.