Lonely Planet Writer

Iceland the country considers suing Iceland the supermarket over trademarking its name

In what seems like a puzzling move to some and perfectly logical to others, a meeting has been scheduled for next week in which Iceland, the European country, hopes to persuade Iceland, the frozen food chain, to relinquish its trademark on the word “Iceland” within some business categories in the EU.

Iceland the country wants Iceland the supermarket to change its name in Europe. Image: In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)
Iceland the country wants Iceland the supermarket to change its name in Europe. Image: In Pictures Ltd/Corbis via Getty Images

Those who are confused are wondering why the problem is only arising now, considering the chain of stores was founded in 1970. Those in the know claim that the problems have only arisen more recently.

Iceland, the country, is unhappy because when some of its enterprises attempt to register their businesses across the EU, Iceland, the supermarket, objects to the word being used in their names and logos. As a result, Iceland’s ministry of foreign affairs has confirmed that it is considering suing the frozen foods giant over restrictions its businesses are encountering.

Street in Reykjavik, Iceland. Image: Siggi B
Street in Reykjavik, Iceland. Image: Siggi B

The country didn’t object to the name 46 years ago as it had no plans to launch supermarkets that included the name of the country. It claims that the retail giant has gone on to register its claim to the name in several other categories of business, so companies with the word Iceland in their own business names are encountering problems over the trademark.

Business Iceland, one of the parties involved in the forthcoming negotiations, is examining whether it is fair for one business to be able to trademark the name of a country without its population having any say in the matter.

Herd of wild reindeers in the snow in Iceland. Image: Abe/Getty Images
Herd of wild reindeer in the snow in Iceland. Image: Abe/Getty Images

Other high-powered Icelanders are involved in trying to address this problem, which has been going on now for several years. Representatives from Promote Iceland, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the patent attorney office, Árnason Faktorare, are all taking involved in the meeting on  28 September. The outcome will be eagerly anticipated by all.