In 2014, the British discount grocers Iceland Foods (so named for their pioneering role in selling frozen food) was granted an EU-wide trademark on the word "Iceland" by the EU Intellectual Property Organisation, which apparently saw no risk in giving a British grocer a monopoly over the use of the name of a sovereign nation that was also a member of the European Economic Area.
Iceland Foods was not a measured steward over its monopoly, either: the company abused its trademark by attacking Icelandic businesses that used the word "Iceland" in their names, even ones that were in no way related to groceries. Then, when the country moved to block the nation of Iceland from getting a trademark for the tourist slogan "Inspired by Iceland," the nation finally sued to have the company's trademark invalidated and prevailed.
Iceland Foods can still appeal the decision.
Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson said he welcomed the ruling, but was not surprised by it. “…[I]t defies common sense that a foreign company can stake a claim to the name of a sovereign nation as was done [in this case],” he remarked. “What we’re talking about here is a milestone victory in a matter of real importance for Icelandic exporters. Our country is known for its purity and its sustainability, hence the value of indicating the origin of Icelandic products.”
Iceland Wins Trademark Dispute Against Supermarket Chain [Larissa Kyzer/Iceland Review]
The End Of The Absurdity: Iceland, The Country, Successfully Invalidates The Trademark Of Iceland Foods, The Grocerer [Timothy Geigner/Techdirt]
(Image: Adcro, CC-BY-SA)
[My EFF colleague Katharine is back with a very important message about a singularly stupid and dangerous legislative proposal that is steamrolling through Congress; even by the standards of stupid and dangerous Congressional copyright rules, this one is an exception -Cory] Every year, for a couple of years now, Congress has debated passing some version […]
In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Green European Journal short story about the terrible European Copyright Directive which passed last March, False Flag. Published in December 2018, the story highlights the ways in which this badly considered law creates unlimited opportunities for abuse, especially censorship by corporations who've been embarassed by whistleblowers and […]
Canada's Conservative Party is terrible, and it has terrible policies, and it will be terrible for Canada if they are elected. I already voted against them with my mail-in ballot. That said, the CBC is 100% wrong to sue the Tories for copyright infringement over the inclusion of short debate clips in Conservative campaign websites […]
Remember when the default state of your online presence was anonymity? That’s not so clear-cut anymore, and the worst part is you may not even know who is using your data or what they’re using it for. Small wonder that so many people are choosing to surf through virtual private networks. VPNs filter web access […]
Get ready for the stream of your dreams, binge-watchers. There’s a contest afoot, and at stake is a lifetime subscription to Netflix. All you have to do is sign up, and you’re entered to win this ultimate Netflix plan. When does it expire? Only when you do. And hey, just in case you need something […]
There’s overwhelming support for clean energy, and the planet is giving us more reasons to invest in renewable power sources with every passing year. Even in the most inhospitable areas, wind and solar can provide a good chunk of our power, if not all of it. So why aren’t we all taking advantage of it? […]