Frosty relations: Iceland vs Iceland legal action has been filed

Hayley Kirton
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Iceland, the country, has today confirmed it is taking legal action against Iceland, the supermarket.

The Icelandic government, along with SA Business Iceland and Promote Iceland, has said it is taking the action so its own producers can use the word 'Iceland' when advertising their own food products.

The country argues the retailer cold-heartedly pursued businesses through the courts every time they used "Iceland" when promoting their products or as part of their trademarks - even when their offerings did not compete with the items stocked in Iceland's giant freezers.

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The Icelandic government has lodged a legal challenge at the European Union Intellectual Property Office against the supermarket chain's Europe-wide trademark for the word "Iceland", arguing it should be invalidated because it is "exceptionally broad and ambiguous in definition, often rendering the country's firms unable to describe their products as Icelandic".

"Over the past years Iceland has made multiple efforts to negotiate with Iceland Foods with the hope of reaching a fair solution and avoiding legal action," a statement from Iceland's government read.

"These conciliatory efforts have unfortunately been met with unrealistic and unacceptable demands by the supermarket chain leaving Iceland with no choice but to proceed with a legal resolution to the situation."

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The retailer said:

We very much regret that the Government of Iceland has apparently decided to take legal action over the use of the name Iceland. Contrary to their assertion we have received no recent approaches to achieve an amicable resolution of this issue, which would be our preferred approach.

While we will vigorously defend Iceland Foods' established rights where there is any risk of confusion between our business and Iceland the country, we have been trading successfully for 46 years under the name Iceland and do not believe that any serious confusion or conflict has ever arisen in the public mind, or is likely to do so.

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