Thursday, July 27, 2017

Iceland sends “high-level delegation” to sort legal dispute


Frozen food grocer Iceland is to send a “high-level delegation” to its namesake country’s government in the wake of legal action taken by the nation.

The delegation will be aiming to offer “constructive proposals” and avoid any legal action which could damage the retailer, which is being challenged over its European trademark which stops Icelandic companies from being able to market national goods.

A legal challenge was mounted at the European Union Intellectual Property Office looking to ensure “the right of Icelandic companies to use the word ‘Iceland’ in relation to their goods and services”.

The Nordic country states this is due to the supermarket “aggressively” perusing legal cases preventing items from using the name even in categories where there was no competition.

“A high-level delegation from Iceland is preparing to fly to Reykjavik this week to begin negotiations, and we very much hope for a positive response and an early resolution of this issue,” Iceland’s founder and chief Malcolm Walker said.

READ MORE: Iceland vs Iceland: The battle intensifies

“We registered Iceland as our company name in 1970 and we have coexisted with the country called Iceland very happily ever since. They have made no contact with us to raise any concerns about trademark issues since 2012.”

“We 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 that there is ample scope for an agreement that will allow both parties to continue to live and work amicably alongside each other.”

Icelandic government sources have stated they have made multiple efforts to negotiate with the supermarket but stated their demands were unrealistic and unacceptable.

Baugur, the collapsed Icelandic retail outfit used to own a controlling stake in the retailer, after its collapse in 2009 this fell into the hands of Icelandic banks, from which it was purchased by Walker.  

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