‘Disappointed’ retailer Iceland to appeal being frozen out of EU trademark

Iceland frozen out of EU trademark / Original image: Nicolas J Leclercq

Supermarket retailer Iceland is to appeal losing its trademark to the nation of Iceland in a landmark victory.

Since 2016, the pair have been embroiled in a legal despite due to what the nation of Iceland has said is repeated attempts from the retailer to hinder trademark applications from the island state’s many businesses.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office last week ruled that Iceland Foods could not register ‘Iceland’ within the EU, a turnaround on a 2014 decision granting it the rights to the name.

On the 2014 decision, the Promote Iceland agency said the retailer has reportedly won cases against firms "even in cases when the products and services do not compete". In the appeal, it presented the argument that the "country's businesses are unable to promote themselves across Europe in association with their place of origin — a place of which we are rightly proud and enjoys a very positive national branding". It further added the case that as a place, the trademark should not have been delivered in 2014.

Iceland Foods has traded under the Iceland name in the UK since 1970 and has vowed to appeal the decision. The loss of the trademark could hinder the retailer's ability to trade on the continent.

A spokesperson for the retailer told The Drum: "We are disappointed by the decision of the European Intellectual Property Office concerning the validity of our EU registration for the word mark Iceland. It is our view that this goes against established case law. We will be filing an appeal.”

Relations between the nation and corporate entity have not always been so frosty. Iceland delivered a masterclass sponsorship of the courageous Iceland national football side that reached the quarter finals of Euro 2016 in France.

The frozen food specialist employs 23,000 UK staff across 800 stores.

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