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Chill factor rises in "Iceland" war

Iceland is stepping up its legal battle with the Iceland retail chain over its use of the country's name

Grange Moor-born Malcolm Walker who founded Iceland supermarket(Image: University of Huddersfield)

The Icelandic government is escalating its cold war against UK supermarket Iceland by launching legal action against the chain over the use of its name.

The Nordic nation confirmed that it has mounted a legal challenge against the supermarket – headed by Grange Moor-born Malcolm Walker – at the European Union Intellectual Property Office with the goal of “ensuring the right of Icelandic companies to use the word ‘Iceland’ in relation to their goods and services.”

It claims 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.”

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The retailer, which trades under Iceland Foods, holds a Europe-wide trademark registration for the word. Iceland the nation is seeking to invalidate the registration on the basis that it is “exceptionally broad and ambiguous in definition, often rendering the country’s firms unable to describe their products as Icelandic.”

When news of the lawsuit first broke in September, the retailer said: “Iceland Foods has traded under the Iceland name in the UK since 1970 and is today one of the UK’s most recognised brands. We have also traded as Iceland for many years in other EU countries, and in non-EU countries, including Iceland itself.”

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