No longer content to humiliate its football teams, the nation of Iceland is taking action against a British supermarket chain over the use of its own name.
Iceland Foods is seeking to come to a resolution with the government of Iceland after the island nation's government challenged the frozen food chain's European ownership of the trademark for "Iceland". Iceland Foods had first trademarked the name in 1970, and the two entities had heretofore been peacefully coexisting until recently. Indeed, for a period in the mid-2000's, Iceland Foods was controlled by Icelandic investors and banks. But the pushback against the trademark holding threatens to upend the relationship.
The Icelandic government is claiming that Iceland Foods' trademark enforcement has created issues for Icelandic businesses trying to market themselves throughout Europe, as Iceland Foods' trademark enforcement prevents them from using the name "Iceland" in their marketing efforts or even describing themselves as "Icelandic", even in instances where there is no apparent conflict or confusion with the Iceland Foods brand. The Icelandic government is looking for the European Union Intellectual Property Office to invalidate the trademark as overly broad.
For their part, Iceland Foods claim they do not want to stand in the way of the Icelandic government or Icelandic businesses promoting themselves and their products, so long as they do not compete with Iceland Foods. The company has expressed its concerns over the recent development, sending a delegation of representatives to Reykjavik in order to try and negotiate a solution with the Icelandic government. Iceland Foods note that the Icelandic government have not brought any trademark concerns to their attention, and are hopeful that negotiations can help to resume what had been a solid relationship. The Icelandic government seems less amenable to such negotiations, stating that they would accept an agreement for Iceland Foods' withdrawal of its trademark on "Iceland".