Gunnar Þór Andrésson, a man who trademarked the word ‘HÚH! says that he regrets how his recent and increasingly public debate with well-known comic Hugleikur Dagsson about a copyright infringement issue has played out. In a statement that Gunnar Þór sent to RÚV this week, he said that “the last few days have been uncomfortable for me,” and that he wanted to explain his side of the matter more fully.
Gunnar Þór registered a trademark for the word ‘HÚH!’—the exclamation shouted during the now-famous ‘Viking Clap’ that the Icelandic Men’s National Football team leads after each of their matches. The trademark, which is valid until 2026, gives him the exclusive rights to printing clothing, shoes, hats, and beverages with the word 'HÚH!' on them. When he discovered that Hugleikur was producing shirts showing an Icelandic football player shouting ‘HÚ!,’ Gunnar Þór asserted that this was a copyright infringement and the Icelandic Patent Office agreed with him. Hugleikur then made the matter public in a much-shared Facebook post called ‘How the Grinch Stole the Viking Clap.’ Since then, the matter has been widely debated and was even written about in an article on the BBC’s website.
In his statement, Gunnar Þór introduced himself as an elementary school teacher, basketball referee, and father of one who has been working on his own clothing line in his spare time. He said that at first, he simply wanted to protect the time he’d already invested in his project and that he simply hadn’t thought the matter all the way through until “practically every media outlet in the country was trying to get in touch with me and...it became clear that I was being called a thief, even though I’d stolen nothing.”
Since the story broke, Gunnar Þór has been subjected to a great deal of abuse. “I’ve been threatened, I’ve been called every terrible name there is, and someone got the idea to post my address and phone number [on social media],” he wrote. Despite these negative reactions, though, he said that he can understand part of the criticism he’s received, “...particularly the criticism regarding the trademarking of a public concept.”
Gunnar Þór wished that Hugleikur had contacted him before writing his Facebook post and said that the comedian described him in a demeaning way, and at the cost of his honor and character. He praised the comedian, however, for donating half the profits from sales of his shirt to the Icelandic Cancer Society. “I hope the society will continue to enjoy the benefits of the t-shirt’s sale for a long time to come and I have, at any rate, decided not to pursue this matter any further.”