Iceland Sues UK Supermarket Chain for Using Its Name

January 19, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. chain / tʃeɪn / (n.) – a company that owns a group of stores, restaurants, etc. that has the same appearance and offers the same services
Example: The convenience store chain has branches all over the country.

2. trademark / ˈtreɪdˌmɑrk / (n.) – a name or symbol that a company uses to help consumers identify its products
Example The new company applied for a trademark registration.

3. negotiation / nɪˌgoʊ ʃiˈeɪ ʃən / (n.) – a formal discussion between two people or parties in order to reach an agreement
ExampleNegotiations between the two countries are needed to strengthen their relations.

4. rooted in / ˈru tɪd ɪn / (idiom) – based on or influenced by something
Example: His choice is rooted in his belief.

5. delegate / ˈdɛl ɪ gɪt / (n.) – a person sent to represent a group, such as an organization or country
Example: Several countries sent delegates to the United Nations celebration.

Read the text below.
The government of Iceland filed a lawsuit against UK supermarket chain Iceland Foods over the use of the country’s name.

The suit aims to protect the right of companies from Iceland to use the name of their place of origin. Currently, Iceland Foods holds the European-wide trademark registration for the name “Iceland.” According to the government, this has been preventing Icelandic /aɪsˈlæn dɪk/ companies from promoting themselves across Europe using their country’s name. In fact, companies Iceland Gold and Clean Iceland had tried to register their names with the European Union, but both failed.

The government claimed in a statement that it tried to approach Iceland Foods several times for a possible negotiation. However, the supermarket chain denied the claim and said that the Icelandic government did not reach out to them.

In response, the company said that it has been operating under the name for 46 years, and it believes that it has not caused any serious confusion or conflict among the public. In a statement, Iceland Foods explained that the supermarket’s name is rooted in the friendship of Iceland Foods founder Malcolm Walker /ˈmæl kəm ˈwɔ kər/ and a former Icelandic prime minister.

The supermarket’s CEO assured that the company has no intention of preventing Icelandic companies from using their country’s name to promote themselves, as long as the usage does not cause any confusion. In an attempt to fix its relations with the government of Iceland, the company sent delegates to the country’s capital to begin negotiations. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A 

·         Do you agree with the Icelandic government’s action to file a lawsuit against Iceland Foods? Why or why not?
·         Should Iceland Foods change its name? Explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Would you find it acceptable if a company from another country used your country’s name? Why or why not?
·         In your opinion, what are the factors that should be considered when choosing a name for a business?

January 19, 2017