Iceland’s legal team received a chilly reception in Reykjavik as the name dispute snowballs

Attempts by Iceland Foods to thaw hostilities over the trademark dispute with the country of Iceland have failed, with legal action set to continue.

The frozen food retailer sent a negotiation team to Reykjavik on Friday in a bid to stop the action against its trademarked name.

The Icelandic government has already announced that it would mount a legal challenge to the Deeside-based supermarket to enable its producers to use their country’s name in their trademark.

However, the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs said legal action would continue as the food retailer refused to relinquish exclusive control of the word ‘Iceland’.

“We very much regret that the Icelandic government was not willing to hold any serious discussion with us on ways in which we might co-operate to our mutual benefit,” said Iceland founder and CEO Malcolm Walker.

“While we have no wish to engage in a public argument with our friends in Iceland, it is important for people to understand that a number of their comments on this issue are factually incorrect.”

He refuted claims that the country of Iceland had made multiple efforts to negotiate with Iceland Foods with the hope of reaching a fair solution and avoiding legal action.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, they have made no direct approach to us whatsoever about trademark issues since 2012, which is why we sent a small delegation to Reykjavik on Friday to try to achieve a resolution. This got nowhere because it rapidly became clear that the Icelandic authorities have no interest in reaching a compromise.”

He said it was surprising that the issue had become such a major problem for the country.

“Iceland Foods had Icelandic majority shareholders and Icelandic representatives on its board for seven years to 2012. At no point in all those years did any representative of Iceland (the country) raise the slightest concern about our company’s branding.

“Recent claims that we have sought to prevent Iceland using the name ‘Iceland’ to promote tourism to the country are simply nonsensical. All we have ever sought to do - and will continue to do - is to prevent other food and retail companies from representing themselves as ‘Iceland’ in ways that could cause confusion with our brand.”