Gróska, Vatnsmýri 1
28. desember 2022
Iceland wins dispute against UK's Iceland supermarket chain
Iceland Foods' appeal regarding the patent rights to the word Iceland has been dismissed by the EU's subsidiary court.
The European Union Intellectual Property Office’s Grand Board of Appeal has rejected all of the requests of the British retail chain Iceland Foods Ltd regarding the use of the word mark Iceland. The company can no longer stop Icelandic enterprises from identifying themselves with their country of origin when marketing their goods and services in the European Economic Area.
The case concerns the basic interests of Icelandic enterprises engaged in foreign trade. The Icelandic authorities, in partnership with Business Iceland and the SA Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise, filed Iceland’s request for a declaration of invalidity with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in 2016. Oral proceedings before the Board of Appeal were held last September. The Icelandic State’s 2016 request that EUIPO invalidate the word mark ICELAND was based on the trademark not fulfilling the legal requirements for registration as a European Union trademark.
In 2019, the EU Intellectual Property Office accepted all of the Icelandic State´s request when it concluded that the retail chain’s trademark registration of the word mark ICELAND was invalid in its entirety. In its ruling of December 15, the Grand Board of Appeal confirms all the points of that finding. The time-limit to appeal the finding to the Court of Justice of the European Union is 15 February 2023.
“This unequivocal finding of the Board of Appeal is very pleasing; however, this entire case is rather absurd,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir. “It is of prime importance for Icelandic export enterprises to be able to refer to their origin, especially considering that our country has a reputation for purity and high quality. No-one should be able to claim ownership of the name of a sovereign state.”