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Sweden sparks row over who owns 'Nordic Model'

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06:46 CET+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."

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