The government of Iceland is taking legal action against the U.K. supermarket chain Iceland Foods, arguing that its appropriation of the country’s name has caused harm to local businesses.
In a statement Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said it would ask the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EU-IPO) to “invalidate this exclusive registration on the basis that the term ‘ICELAND’ is exceptionally broad and ambiguous in definition, often rendering the country’s firms unable to describe their products as Icelandic.”
The legal challenge comes after multiple efforts to negotiate a “fair solution” with the supermarket chain had failed, the ministry said.
The British supermarket chain has been trading under the Iceland name since 1970.
“Though sometimes confused with a small country of Viking origins on the fringes of the Arctic Circle, the real Iceland is a unique British food retailer with over 860 stores throughout the UK, a further 40 owned or franchised stores across Europe and a global export business,” is how it describes itself on its website.
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