Iceland's government considers legal action against supermarket's name

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A cold war is in the offing after the Icelandic government confirmed that it is considering launching a lawsuit against British supermarket Iceland over its name.

Iceland's ministry of foreign affairs confirmed that it is mulling filing a suit against the frozen foods giant, 45 years after it was founded.

"I can confirm that this is being looked into, but no decision has been made," a spokesman for Iceland's ministry of foreign affairs told the Press Association.

Promote Iceland, an agency linked to the Icelandic foreign ministry, explained that it has no intention of forcing IcelandFoods to give up its brand, but wants to ensure that the supermarket does not prevent Icelandic firms from registering the name "Iceland" across the UK or EU.

"We are looking for a 'live and let live' outcome," Jon Asbergsson, the managing director of Promote Iceland, explained.

A spokesman for Iceland said: "Iceland Foods has traded under the Iceland name in the UK since 1970, and is today one of the UK's most recognised brands. We have also traded as Iceland for many years in other EU countries, and in non-EU countries, includingIceland itself.

"We are not aware that our use of the Iceland name has ever caused any confusion withIceland the country."

The relationship between the supermarket and the Nordic nation has a history of frostiness.

Icelandic retail conglomerate Baugur held a controlling stake in the grocer until its collapse in 2009. The stake then fell into the hands of Icelandic banks Landsbanki and Glitnir, which was later acquired as part of a management buyout led by founder and chief executive Malcolm Walker.

The company, whose headquarters are in Deeside, has more than 800 stores across the UK and employs more than 23,000 staff.