From Iceland — "Volcano" Cannot Be Copyrighted

“Volcano” Cannot Be Copyrighted

Published December 29, 2011

The Consumer Agency has ruled that the word “volcano” cannot be copyrighted by any Icelandic company, as volcanoes are characteristic of the country itself.
The dispute over the use of “volcano” arose when the company Volcano Iceland ehf. when to the Consumer Agency over another company, V.D. Hönnunarhúss ehf., using the label Volcano Design and Volcano Icelandic Design, Morgunblaðið reports. Volcano Iceland believed that this would create confusion among consumers.
The Consumer Agency responded that “The word ‘volcano’ means eldfjall or eldstöð and it is clear that this name is very characteristic of Iceland,” adding that the word itself does not immediately bring the concepts of design and fashion to mind.
“We consider it out of the question that the word be registered as a copyrighted, as both companies have had the word registered as a trademark at the Icelandic Patent Office. The word can therefore not be copyrighted.”
The decision thus leaves the door open for numerous other Icelandic companies to employ “volcano” in their name in some way or another.

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