Iceland, the famous British frozen food chain has found itself in a possible legal battle with Iceland – the country!
The Icelandic government has recently intimated that it is considering the possibility of bringing an action against the supermarket under passing-off laws. Any legal action would involve possible trademark infringement. The supermarket chain is the registered proprietor of the European trademark name of “Iceland”. Iceland the country would have to prove that there had been sufficient confusion amongst members of the general public that the supermarket was in some way associated with the country.
Were a formal legal action to be brought, it would be a landmark case of high public interest due to the nature of the two parties involved. Iceland, the supermarket has been trading under the respective name for a period of 45 years since the 1970’s and owns supermarkets in both EU and non-EU countries, including Iceland.
It would appear that the main motivation for the Icelandic Government considering taking such action is that local businesses in the country have been making complaints that they are precluded from utilising the name “Iceland” within the promotion of their own goods and services on the basis that the supermarket chain already owns the exclusive use of the requisite European trademark.
A trademark registration will typically be made into a certain category. It is understood that the food chain originally registered it’s trademark into a single category but has since sought to expand its horizons by registering under additional trademark categories and classes which has led to the recent objection and ambiguity within Iceland, the country.
Here at Farleys we have a specialist team of solicitors who are able to advise you in relation to bringing or defending any potential case of trademark infringement or passing-off claim. Do not hesitate to contact us today to speak to one of our expert solicitors who will be more than happy to advise you in relation to the grounds and merits of such a claim.