For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Iceland fishing for EU status

The IPKat, like all self-respecting felines, is passionate about fish. This is why he's so excited to learn that the Icelandic Parliament has voted by a narrow majority to set in motion an application to join the European Union. Iceland's bid must now be approved by the EU, after which Iceland's people will be asked to vote on it in a referendum.

Right: the IPKatfish?

Apart from the fish, Iceland's accession to the European Union would raise to 28 (if no-one else gets there first) the number of countries covered by the Community trade mark and the Community design -- as well as increasing the number of official languages into which the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Communities and the Court of First Instance may have to be translated. Adds the IPKat, it means another set of dictionaries and lexicons for the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market's library and another jurisdiction in which distinctiveness acquired through use will have to be demonstrated before an inherently non-distinctive sign can gain registrability.

Merpel's quite worried. Iceland, she observes, is only one letter away from an existing EU member state, Ireland. Is this not a dreadful case of close similarity leading to a likelihood of confusion?

Lots of facts about Iceland here

8 comments:

Dr. Michael Factor said...

One of our commonest problems of confusion for national phase entry into Israel is that Iceland is IS whereas Israel is IL.

We see a steady stream of applicants trying to effect a 31 month National Phase Entry into Israel after looking things up on the back page of the PCT Newsletter.

Incidentally, the leading Icelandic firm Faktor-Patent Attorneys has nothing to do with leading me or with leading Israel firm JMB, Factor & Co. The Icelanders chose the name randomly!

It does lead to confusion though. Who knows what will happen if Israel eventually joins the EU which is not an impossibility...

Anonymous said...

Don't want to be a pedant, but Israel is not in Europe. Maybe I am being naive, but isn't that a requirement for joining the EU?

It is for joining the EPC (Art 166(1)EPC) though apparently any country could in theory be an extension state.

The rules for the Eurovision song contest are a little more lax.

Anonymous said...

The last time I looked, Turkey, or at least its capital, was not in Europe but is mentioned as an EU candidate state. Is Iceland in Europe? How about Cyprus?

Dr. Michael Factor said...

Actually, Israel's been offered EU a la carte, to choose what laws she wants and which ones she doesn't.

As an ex-pat Brit, I remember a lot of people with an Island mentality being fairly convinced that the UK was not part of Europe.

Israel is at the junction of Asia, Africa and Europe. In many ways, culturally, has more in common with Europe than the other two continents.

Is Hawaii part of America? Are the Falklands part of Britain?

I suspect that Israel is destined to continue to be on the border of empires and unions and not to join any political grouping including NATO (which extends well beyond the North Atlantic).

Jeremy said...

Europe's failure to contain even its generally accepted constituent countries within clearly defined boundaries suggests that it is not so much a continent as an incontinent ...

Anonymous said...

Since Iceland is on the North Atlantic Ridge parts of it are in Europe and parts in America (including the capital where most of the people actually live). The boundary is marked by a rift, which you can cross via expanding bridges (2cm per year) or scuba dive in.

Anonymous said...

First anonymous again.

Yes, Iceland and Cyprus are within what is commonally accepted to be geographical Europe, see for instance wikipedia (although admittedly this is not a universally held view). Turkey is at least partly in Europe. Israel is wholly not in Europe.

The original question still stands: do you have to be (at least partly) in the continent of Europe to join the EU? If not, why not?

Daniel said...

An Irishman here... I remember the joke 6 months ago (during the Icelandic banking crisis) - "What's the difference between Iceland and Ireland? A letter and 6 months"

6 months on, that joke seems a lot less funny :)

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