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Welsh supermarket chain Iceland taking the country of Iceland to court

WALES-BASED supermarket chain Iceland is taking the country of Iceland to court again in a long running battle to trademark the name.

Iceland Foods has fought for years to trademark the name of the Nordic island but the Icelandic government has claimed this would stop the country’s businesses from describing their products as Icelandic.

In 2016, the frozen food specialist received registration of the brand Iceland at the EU Intellectual Property Office.

Iceland the country won a ruling in 2019 from the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) that invalidated the exclusivity of Iceland Foods’ EU trademark registration.

The case has now been taken to the Grand Board of the EUIPO, hearing began last week.

Margrét Hjálmarsdóttir a the senior lawyer of the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office said that if the country lost the case “it would mean that Icelandic companies might not be able to use the word Iceland in their trademarks to identify the products they are selling.”

Iceland Foods’ managing director Richard Walker has said the supermarket will “vigorously defend” its intellectual property rights, Grocery Gazette reports.

Richard Walker has said: “Our business is family-owned and was named Iceland Foods by my mother, the late Lady Walker.”

“We have traded successfully under our name in the UK since 1970, and today it is one of the UK’s most recognised brands.”

“We had sincerely hoped that we would be able to avoid last week’s hearing and reach an amicable agreement.”

“While we will vigorously defend Iceland Foods’ intellectual property rights where there is any risk of confusion between our business and those of another business, this would not restrict Icelandic producers describing goods or services as coming from Iceland.”

“We have been trading successfully for over 50 years under the name Iceland and do not believe that any serious confusion or conflict has ever arisen in the public mind between our business or Iceland the country, or is likely to do so.”

“Iceland Foods is proud of its legacy, serving customers who rely on us for affordable products, particularly in times when the cost of living is increasing at an alarming rate.”

A decision in the case is not expected until the beginning of next year. And even then, it may not be over.

If the parties do not agree, it could end up with the EU’s highest court, the European Court of Justice.