Iceland Wins Trade Mark Dispute Against Iceland

Iceland supermarket

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)’s Grand Board of appeal has confirmed the EUIPO’s 2019 ruling that UK-based supermarket chain Iceland Foods Ltd. trademark on the word “Iceland” within the European Union be invalidated.

In 2016, The Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, SA – Business Iceland and Íslandsstofa filed a request for a declaration of invalidity against Iceland Foods Ltd’s EU-wide trademark for the word Iceland. According to a press release from the Confederation of Enterprises, Iceland Foods, which registered the trademark in 2014, has hindered Icelandic companies in using their country of origin in the marketing of their products and services. They give an example of the supermarket chain finding issue with the registry of trademarks such as INSPIRED BY ICELAND  and ICELANDIC.

In 2019, EUIPO ruled in favour of Iceland – the country – and invalidated the supermarket’s trademark entirely, noting that “It has been adequately shown that consumers in EU countries know that Iceland is a country in Europe and also that the country has historical and economic ties to EU countries, in addition to geographic proximity.” According to the ruling, Iceland Foods LTD were free to continue the use of their name and logo but could not prohibit Icelandic companies to use the country name. Iceland Foods LTD appealed the decision to the EUIPO’s Grand Board of Appeal, which has now confirmed the ruling.

Reykjavík Swimming Pools Reopened

Laugardalslaug geothermal swimming pool in Reykjavík

Capital area swimming pools reopened to the public this morning following a two-day closure due to interruptions in the Hellisheiði geothermal power station. Laugardalslaug opened at 7 am and other city pools at 11.30. The Nauthólsvík geothermal beach opened at 11 am.

Several of the city’s pools were closed last Monday due to interruptions in the Hellisheiði power plant operations. Repairs were completed yesterday morning but the swimming pools remained closed while replenishing the city’s hot water reserves. Sufficient hot water reserves are especially important in this recent cold snap, so that Veitur, the city’s utilities company can ensure unlimited services.

The reason for the staggered opening hours is that hot water to the swimming pools was limited until 6 am this morning. Swimmers are warned that the outdoor swimming pools will be a little colder than they are used to.

Read more: Nothing comes between Icelanders and their swim

Airlines Recovering from Storm Delays, Arranging for Stranded Passanger Transport

Keflavík airport Icelandair

Flights to and from Iceland seem to be back to normal following the storm. According to Isavia’s website, some of Icelandair’s arriving flights were cancelled or delayed but most departures have taken off despite delays. Iceland air and Play Air are making arrangements to get stranded passengers to their destinations in time for Christmas.

Icelandair released a statement late last night that they are working hard to get their passengers to their destination in time for Christmas. Yesterday, the airline had 17 departures to Tenerife, Las Palmas, Copenhagen, London and North America, as well as transporting passengers from Keflavík to Reykjavík and supplies to the depleted stores of the airport terminal. They claim that the outlook for today is good, even though some flight disruptions may occur. Prospective passengers are asked to pay close attention to flight information.

Play air also issued a statement yesterday, stating that hopefully flight disruptions will be over today. Play will be collecting the airline’s new passenger jet immediately instead of next spring as previously scheduled. This means that the airline will have seven planes of its own to transport stranded passengers, as well as rental planes.

The winter weather had various effects on airport services and yesterday, travellers were asked to refrain from arriving in private vehicles as the longterm-parking lots were covered in snow. Today, they’ve been reopened, but those who intend to park their cars at Leifsstöð are asked to pre-book parking online. According to an Isavia statement: “Our team worked into the night and others took over this morning to carry out cleaning work in all P areas and around the terminal. The task is huge due to the heavy snowfall and some cars are still covered in snow. We kindly ask all passengers to pre-book parking online.”

Movie Ticket Prices Reach New Heights

People sitting in a cinema, eating popcorn.

The price of movie tickets has exceeded ISK 2,000 [$13.95, €13.14] for the first time. Consumers interviewed by Vísir stated that the prices were “striking,” albeit indicative of the economic situation in the country.

From the economic crisis to post-COVID inflation

As reported by Vísir this morning, it was in April 2008 – just before the economic crash – that the price of a movie ticket surpassed the ISK 1,000 mark [$7, €6,57] for the first time. Consumers were upset:

“The price of the movie ticket was, in my opinion, shockingly high – but now it’s risen even further; the ticket has reached ISK 1,000, and then you have to buy popcorn, coke, and candy,” a contemporary blogger wrote.

Today, fourteen years later, the price of a movie ticket has broken the ISK 2,000 barrier; ISK 2,045 is the new general ticket price in the Sambíó, Háskólabíó and Smárabíó theatres. In other major cinemas, the price of the ticket sits is just under ISK 2,000. Just like fourteen years ago, visitors to the Kringlan shopping centre, whom Vísir spoke to yesterday, were not happy.

Price increases across the board

Alfreð Ásberg Árnason, from Sambíó the theatre, maintained, however, that a movie ticket likely amounted to one of the cheapest forms of two-hour entertainment in the country, arguing that the increase in ticket prices was far from being comparable to other increases elsewhere.

Vísir also compiled a list of prices for a few popular food and drink items in Iceland, noting that a hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu costs ISK 600 [$4.20, €3.95](following a considerable price increase from last season). Prices in ice cream shops have also risen: a small “þeytingur” (a specialty mix of ice cream with candy) at Ísbúð Vesturbæjar costs ISK 1,550[$10.80, €10.18] and a double cappuccino at Te & Kaffi costs ISK 835[$5.80, €5.50]. A beer at a bar can hardly be purchased at a price lower than ISK 1,450[$10.12, €9.55], which is exactly the price of half a litre of Tuborg at the Danish pub.

The National Statistics Office publishes inflation figures on Thursday, and Landsbankinn predicts that inflation will rise again, to 9.6 percent, before it subsides again in January. Consumers are feeling the price increases, especially now, in the run-up to Christmas.

“I can’t even buy Christmas presents for my mother,” Magnús Ingi Halldórsson, a young employee at the Kringlan shopping centre, told Vísir.