Chilly reception: Iceland is considering suing Iceland over its name

Emma Haslett
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A stock image of the Blue Lagoon leisure
Not a supermarket (Source: Getty)

It may have been trading since the 1970s, but it the government of Iceland has had enough of British supermarket Iceland using its name.

Yep: Iceland (the country) is considering a lawsuit against Iceland (the supermarket) in an effort to force it to ditch its moniker - because it has pursued brands in Iceland (the country) who use it.

A statement from the government of Iceland said:

​A group of Icelandic parties, including the government of Iceland, is considering filing a cancellation action against the registration of the trademark ‘Iceland’ by Iceland Foods.

The Europe-wide trademark registration for ‘Iceland’ is held by the UK supermarket Iceland Foods. Based on this registration, Iceland Foods has pursued and won multiple cases against Icelandic companies seeking to describe themselves using this word, even in cases when the products and services do not compete.

It seems reasonable that a company or product made in Iceland or by an Icelandic company would be able to describe itself using the name of the country. Any decision about proceeding with this claim will only be made after full consideration of the interests of Icelandic companies and our people.

For its part, Iceland (the supermarket) protested innocence.

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

"We have also traded as Iceland for many years in other EU countries, and in non-EU countries including Iceland itself. We are not aware that our use of the Iceland name has ever caused any confusion with Iceland the country.”

Then it got sassy.

They have history

To make matters even more confusing, several companies based in Iceland (the country) owned a stake in Iceland (the supermarket) in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Retail giant Baugur, which also owned shares of Hamleys and Debenhams, handed over its controlling stake in Iceland (the supermarket) to Lansbanki and Gitnir before its collapse in 2009 - which was then sold to Malcolm Walker, the founder of Iceland (the supermarket).

And all this, after Iceland (the supermarket) was so supportive of Iceland's (the country's) endeavours in Euro 2016:

Although maybe Brexit could help solve this latest Icelandic injustice, too...