From Iceland — Iceland (The Country) In Court Against Iceland (The Store) Again

Iceland (The Country) In Court Against Iceland (The Store) Again

Published September 9, 2022

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Adcro/Wikimedia Commons/Art Bicnick

Oral arguments are being heard today in the case of the Icelandic government against the British store chain Iceland, RÚV reports. The store is seeking to appeal a decision in 2019 over the trademarking of the country’s name.

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The Icelandic government won a ruling in 2019 from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) which stated in part that Icelandic companies have every right to use the word attached to their goods and services, and the supermarket chain cannot reasonably trademark the name of a country that has been around since the 9th century.

However, the chain store Iceland has appealed this decision to the EUIPO appeals board, and there is a lot at stake.

“It would mean that Icelandic companies could possibly not use the word Iceland in their trademarks to designate the products they’re selling,” attorney Margrét Hjálmarsdóttir told reporters when asked what it would mean if Iceland, the country, loses this appeal.

While this may sound incredulous, the countries Jamaica and Switzerland have had similar difficulties, and the word “Icelandic” is a registered trademark in the United States.

A ruling on this matter should not be expected until the beginning of next year, and even so, the case may go all the way to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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