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Thaw Attempted between Iceland and Iceland

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Thaw Attempted between Iceland and Iceland

Mýrdalsjökull glacier in South Iceland.

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The relations between Iceland and Iceland are below freezing these days.

A negotiating committee from the British supermarket chain Iceland Foods, which specializes in frozen foods, plans to meet with Icelandic representatives at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tomorrow in an effort to bring about a thaw.

The reason for the visit is that the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs has launched legal action against the supermarket chain, in an attempt to have the chain’s exclusive right to use the name Iceland as a trademark within the European Union revoked.

The chain has for years fought to prevent Icelandic companies from identifying themselves by their country of origin while marketing their products in Europe. In addition to the ministry, Promote Iceland and SA-Business Iceland have prepared the legal challenge.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Lilja Alfreðsdóttir doesn’t necessarily expect to meet with the chain’s representatives, according to RÚV, and calls the demand of Icelandic authorities both fair and just. “It’s unbelievable that they should have received this registration at that time, and now, we’re working to get it revoked.”

The country’s demand is that the European Union Intellectual Property Office revoke the chain’s exclusive right to use the word Iceland within the European Union, since Iceland is a known geographical name, common and without distinctive features, and should, therefore, never have been registered by the chain.

The supermarket chain’s representatives expressed optimism about the meeting in British media on Wednesday. Their main lawyer heads the negotiating committee. CEO Malcolm Walker believes the dispute can be solved. The foreign minister stated, however, that Iceland’s demand won’t be negotiated.

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