Soverign Country Domain Names on my mind.
I was having a conversation with my solicitor a while back and we were talking about branding and how you should not brand your business as a country name. Moving forward to today I had a request to help sell a country name and basically you cannot register country names with the view of branding them without getting yourself in to hot water. Here is a scenario a British well known PLC company Iceland.co.uk branded themselves as Business selling Frozen Food.
Iceland Foods Ltd is a British supermarket chain headquartered in Wales, with emphasis on the sale of frozen foods, including prepared meals and vegetables. They also sell non-frozen grocery items such as produce, meat, dairy, and dry goods. The company has an approximate 2.2% share of the UK food market. CEO: Malcolm Walker (Feb 2005–) Founder: Malcolm WalkerFounded: 1970Number of locations: 800Parent organization: Brait
However they have got themselves into a bit of a pickle as Iceland Government are attempting to sue them. Please read the following link: https://www.compumark.com/blog/getting-right-happens-brand-name-country/
So the moral of the story, although country domain names have been bought and sold before, its only a matter of time when the Government of that country may turn around and sue. https://namebio.com/?s==kTN1MzM4IjM Do you want to face legal action by not being original.
The Icelandic government has confirmed it is considering launching a lawsuit against British supermarket Iceland over its name. It has taken 46 years for Iceland to contemplate filing a law suit against the tradmark ‘Iceland’ according to Iceland’s ministry of foreign affairs. This would mean that a “cancellation action” against the supermarket’s Europe-wide trademark registration for the name Iceland.
Promote Iceland, a marketing agency linked to the Icelandic foreign ministry, said it has no intention of forcing Iceland Foods to give up its brand, but wants to make sure Iceland the brand does not stop other companies also calling themselves ‘Iceland’ across the UK & EU. (I can already see an argument as a tradmark can argue that if another company sets themselves up in th EU for instance selling Iceland Foods that they could have a stake claim towards that company) Is it me or can I see a future UDRP? Your comments are welcome….. Manging Director Jon Asbergsson of Promote Iceland’ Marketing Agency said “We are looking for a ‘live and let live’ outcome”.
The way I see this is the word ‘Iceland’ can be interepreted as ‘Ice Land’ which can be argued. Furthermore if the brand is helping the economy and is no way affiliated with Iceland the Country and it has been trading since 1970, why take 46 years to sue the tradmark owner? As long as the sovereign state secure the dot com for its country then the other domain extensions could be used for other purposes.
The government said the supermarket chain has launched and won “multiple cases” against Icelandic companies for using the word, “even in cases when the products and services were not competitors.
According to the Icelandic Government. a decision about legal proceeding with this claim will only be made after full evaluation of the interests of Icelandic businesses and their people.
The spokesman for ‘Iceland’ the brand said “We have also traded as Iceland for many years in other EU countries, and in non-EU countries, including Iceland itself. We are not aware that our use of the Iceland name has ever caused any confusion with Iceland the country.”
The relationship between the supermarket and the Nordic nation is by far a very frosty one.
To read the full article please follow this link: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/23/cold-war-iceland-the-country-may-sue-iceland-the-chain-over-name
In relation to other country names I personally would steer well clear of them unless you were branding yourself like www.ukwebsitedesigners.co.uk or www.ukdomainbrokers.com or www.cymrumarketing.com Can you see where I am going with this and that I have not just used the Country ‘Cymru’ or ‘UK’ alone but instead used a combination of words.
Stay Safe People!
More news coming in on the same topic of ‘Sovereign Immunity’ date 29/08/19 or for the US readers 08/29/19. A chap by the name of Jean-Noël Frydman, who registered France.com in 1994 was sued by the French Government and he lost his domain. It stands to reason you do not hold a country name hostage. You cannot register a sovereign name unless you like the publicity. You can read more about it here: https://domainnamewire.com/2019/08/29/court-rejects-frances-appeal-in-france-com-case/
I do have one question, why did it take so long for it to come to court? ummm……