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Sweden sparks row over who owns 'Nordic Model'

Published: 14 Mar 2012 06:46 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Mar 2012 06:46 GMT+01:00

The successful trademark registration of “Nordic Model” by Sweden’s Social Democrats has prompted a sharp reaction from the rest of the Nordic region's political establishment.

The move has led other political bodies to protest the Social Democrats' move, which has put the question of who created the Nordic Model into ever sharper focus.

"We may have understood if they had (trademarked) the 'Swedish Model', but when it comes to the 'Nordic Model' we have no choice but to protest," Jan-Erik Enestam, who heads the Nordic Council representing opposition parties from across the region, said in a statement Tuesday.

Sweden's opposition Social Democrats successfully registered the "Nordic Model", which is widely understood as a system mixing the market economy with a womb-to-tomb welfare state, as a trademark in Sweden last December.

The Social Democrats, who dominated Swedish politics for most of the 20th century, insist their workers' movement created the generous system and have criticized Sweden's current centre-right government for trying to hijack the phrase.

The Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers, which represents the governments of the region, together lodged an official complaint with the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (Patent- och Registreringsverket – PRV) on March 6th.

"The Nordic Model is a general Nordic political asset and cannot be considered either as only Swedish nor as belong to a specific political party. The Nordic model is part of the entire Nordic region's, and all of its inhabitants', cultural-political heritage," they wrote.

The councils also pointed out that they frequently use the term in their publications -- in fact 171 of their publications contain the phrase -- insisting it would be "practically unreasonable and wrong in principle to legally protect a term that is already used in a much broader context ... (and) that several countries identify with and regularly use."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:22 March 14, 2012 by gpafledthis
This sinks so low !! I'd fear being in the swedish submarine force it's natural human component (swedes) inclination is to go from low to lower-NEVER rise above !!!!
08:42 March 14, 2012 by karex
It amazes me how easy it is to trademark anything in Sweden, including surnames! There doesn't seem to be any logical rule attached to this. Take for instance one company placing a trademark on the word "Picanha". This word for those who don't know is the name of a cut of beef. It would be like placing a trademark on the term "ground beef". This trademark in effect created a monopoly in Sweden: no one but the trademark holder can market this particular cut of beef and call it by its cut, they have to simply call it "beef" which leaves the consumer not knowing what he/she is buying. This should be illegal. The trademark office should have thrown out the request. Next someone will show up wanting to trademark "Personal Computer", "car" and one day who knows, maybe even "water".
20:03 March 14, 2012 by tadchem
Silly me! I thought the Nordic Model referred to Forsling.
20:22 March 14, 2012 by OUIJA
@karex #2

Be careful. Someone might register "karex" as a trademark and then you will be prohibited to make intelligent comments.

As long as the trademark office gets paid, they will register Gudrun Shyman as the trademark for a feminist idiot.

Keep on, karex, please keep on.
21:57 March 14, 2012 by klubbnika
"Womb-to-tomb welfare state". :D

What a marvellous expression.
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