Apr 3, 2018

Hú trademark threatens to thwart cartoonist's t-shirt scheme

Hugleikur Dagsson has found that he may not legally sell t-shirts that he has produced featuring the Hú chant, much beloved by football fans worldwide since the Icelandic national team's run to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.

The team's fans (some dressed as Vikings) coordinate long pauses with claps and chants of 'Hú' in spine-tingling uniformity often referred to as the Viking Clap. In the run up to this summer's World Cup, Dagsson had intended to market the t-shirts of a stick man in an Iceland football kit with arms outstretched and a speech bubble showing the 'Hú' sound.

He has now found that a trademark registered with the Iceland Trademark Office for 'Húh' applies equally to 'Hú'. Dagsson, undeterred by this set-back, has said that he isn't interested in the legalities, and will sell the t-shirts in any event. He says that the words are different, and that Icelanders never add 'h' to the end of words.

He has also ensured that the public are aware that he already donates 50% of the profits from his t-shirts to the Iceland Cancer Society.

Whether the sums involved are large enough for the mark holder (Gunnar Þór Andrésson) to actually take further action remains to be seen, but Dagsson seems largely uninterested in engaging with the legal process, preferring, as he puts it, to "…tell Facebook about this and see what happens".

Dagsson may be in a weak position legally, but he is gambling on Andrésson not wanting the negative publicity of suing a cartoonist over the use of a nationally iconic chant providing funds to charity.

It will be interesting to observe whether the t-shirts remain on sale in the immediate run up to the world cup.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

Posted by: in: Copyright, EU/International, News

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