From Iceland — The Guy Who Trademarked Iceland's "HÚH!" Has Some Regrets

The Guy Who Trademarked Iceland’s “HÚH!” Has Some Regrets

Published March 27, 2018

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Hugleikur Dagsson

The man behind the trademark on “HÚH!” has released what he says will be his final public words on the subject of the controversy.

As reported, beloved artist Hugleikur Dagsson has, since 2016, been selling T-shirts bearing the vocalisation commonly associated with “the Viking clap” of Iceland national men’s football team supporters. Last week, he received notice from a man who claimed a trademark on “HÚH!”, telling Hugleikur that he needed to start paying him a cut of his profits. Hugleikur instead doubled down, taking the matter to social media and saying half the proceeds with go to the Icelandic Cancer Society.

Today, national broadcasting service RÚV reports that Gunnar Þór Andrésson, the man behind the trademark, has released a statement.

Gunnar explains he took out the trademark on HÚH!, which lasts for 10 years, in 2016. His original idea was to either use this trademark to produce “clothing and beverages” bearing this word, or to get proceeds from a larger party hoping to use HÚH! for their own products. Last December, he learned that was selling these T-shirts. He contacted the site, pointing out that he had the trademark on HÚH! and that they needed to cease their sales, indicating that he was also open to working out a deal.

Hugleikur took exception to this. “First of all, we didn’t know that it was possible to own this sound effect,” he wrote on Facebook. “Second, I thought we had stolen the Viking clap from Scotland, just like a regular Viking. Third, the T-shirt doesn’t say HÚH! but actually HÚ! Which to my mind is more of an Icelandic spelling than HÚH!”

Hugleikur’s post went viral, reaching as far afield as the BBC, which Gunnar says caused him great discomfort.

“I have been subjected to a great deal of harassment because of this case and received some nasty messages,” Gunnar says in his statement. “I have been threatened, I’ve been called all kinds of nasty names, and someone felt it necessary to post my address and phone number.”

Gunnar says he does not understand why Hugleikur chose to talk to the media before talking to him, saying that Hugleikur spoke of him on Facebook “in a demeaning way” (likely referring to Hugleikur calling him a “Grinch”), but at the same time he praised Hugleikur for having part of the profits go towards the Cancer Society.

“I freely admit that I regret having set this whole thing in motion, in light of the criticism I have received,” Gunnar writes, closing by saying that this will be the last public statement he intends to make about this matter.

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