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Family of famous scientist to sue company over last name


Nineteenth-century Danish scientist Hans Christian Orsted had usually shunned business matters, which is why his family is upset that Denmark’s fourth-largest company chose to use his name on its letterhead, Reuters reported Friday.

Fredericia, Denmark-based DONG Energy, the world's largest developer of offshore wind farms, in October renamed itself Orsted as part of its shift to renewable energy from oil and gas. DONG was short for Danish Oil and Natural Gas, according to the wire service.

It said the new name, chosen from more than 3,000 alternatives, was inspired by the famed physicist Mr. Orsted, who discovered electromagnetism, Reuters reported.

But three direct descendants of Mr. Orsted this week said they intend to file a writ of summons with the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court, their lawyers told reporters.

Soren Peter Orsted told Danish newspaper Berlingske that the name change was a "provocation" and insulting to the scientist Orsted, who had always wanted to stay out of commercial business.

Meanwhile, Orsted had used the name H.C. Orsted for one of its power stations in Copenhagen for more than 100 years, Reuters reported.

"We have conducted a very thorough legal investigation before we chose the name, and in this context we are fully confident that we have the right to use the name Orsted," the company’s spokesperson said in a written comment to the wire service.