Iceland Foods will appeal the EUIPO’s decision for cancelation of its trademark ICELAND registered in 2014 for classes 7, 11, 16, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35. This trademark is used for supermarkets in The UK.
The procedure was initiated by Promote Island, a government organization from Iceland based on Article 52(1) EUTMR in conjunction with Article 7(1)(c) EUTMR:
The following shall not be registered:
- (a) signs which do not conform to the requirements of Article 4;
- (b) trade marks which are devoid of any distinctive character;
- (g) trade marks which are of such a nature as to deceive the public, for instance as to the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or service;
The EUIPO agreed with Promote Island and canceled the trademark. The arguments for this are:
It follows from all of the above that ‘ICELAND’ may serve, from the point of view of the public concerned, to designate an essential and desired characteristic of the goods and services.
Therefore, the mark conveys obvious and direct information regarding the geographical origin of the goods and services in question, and in some cases, the subject matter of the goods as well.
Considering all of the above, it follows that the link between the word ‘ICELAND’ and the contested goods and services is sufficiently close for the sign to fall within the scope of the prohibition laid down by Article 7(1)(c) EUTMR and Article 7(2) EUTMR and that this was also the situation at the time of filing of the contested EUTM, namely, 19/04/2002.
The EUIPO found that Iceland Food failed to prove acquired secondary distinctiveness in the EU.
The Icelandic foreign minister Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson expressed his satisfaction with this decision.
“It is contrary to common sense for a foreign company to be able to appropriate the name of a sovereign state as was being done in this case”, the minister said.
Iceland’s foreign ministry added that consumers were likely to associate the mark with “the country of Iceland for all goods and services the registration is claimed for”.