The company which trades under Iceland Foods currently holds a European-wide trademark registration for the word 'Iceland' and has traded in the UK under the same name since 1970.
The Nordic nation, Iceland, are seeking to invalidate Iceland Food's registration via the European Union Intellectual Property Office on the basis that it is "exceptionally broad and ambiguous in definition."
Iceland (the country) also claims Iceland (the supermarket) has "aggressively pursued" and won multiple cases against Icelandic companies which use the word Iceland as part of their trademark, "even in cases when the products and services do not compete."
Their goal is to ensure "the right of Icelandic companies to use the word Iceland in relation to their goods and services."
The supermarket's founder and chief executive, Malcolm Walker, said the country has not raised "any concerns about trademark issues" with the company since 2012.
He added they "have no desire whatsoever to stand in the way of Iceland (the country) making use of their own name to promote their own products, so long as it does not conflict or cause confusion with our own business.
"I am sure there is ample scope for an agreement that will allow both parties to continue to live and work amicably alongside each other."
With all businesses, your trademark is one of your biggest assets and if you haven't done so already, here is why you should trademark your business:
- Your brand represents your goodwill and value. Trademarks can be words or a logo and become an instantly recognisable brand when people see your name or logo e.g. the Nike tick
- You can be identified and found by customers and clients
- To not register your trademark is tantamount to losing your identify if someone takes your name/logo. You may need to rebrand
- Be mindful that any one with a Community Trade Mark needs to also seek IP protection under the UK post Brexit to protect the trademark
Iceland is challenging Iceland Foods’ exclusive ownership of the European-wide trademark registration for the word Iceland, which it says is preventing the country’s companies from promoting goods and services abroad.