Yesterday, the Sø- og Handelsretten commercial court handed down a ruling in a case involving the right to a name.
In 2017 the Danish energy company Dong Energy changed its name to Ørsted – after the famous Danish scientist HC Ørsted who became world famous in 1820 for discovering electromagnetism.
However, some of HC Ørsted’s descendants were not amused. They were especially unhappy that Dong Energy had been involved in a number of scandals – regarding the sale of a large stake in Dong to Goldman Sachs, its subsequent stock market listing and sale to Radius.
Name law or patent law?
There has also been debate over which branch of law governed the case – the one regarding names or the one on patents and trademarks.
The Name Law from 2006 is there to protect names that have less than 2000 bearers, whilst the Patent and Trademark Law protects names with 30 bearers or less.
Although only around 1,200 have the name Ørsted as either a surname or middle name, the court still found for the energy company, reports DR Nyheder.
The reasons for the court’s decision are not yet known, but in a mail to DR a lawyer for the seven descendants of Ørsted revealed they are deciding whether to launch an appeal.
Ørstad’s administrative director Henrik Poulsen said he was “very happy” with the verdict.