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Danish steakhouse wins contentious legal battle

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Danish steakhouse wins contentious legal battle
Jacob Jensen will now need to come up with a new name for his restaurant. Photo: Henning Bagger/Scanpix
14:35 CEST+02:00
The Supreme Court sides with national restaurant chain Jensen's Bøfhus and rules that its name is distinct, despite it being the most common name in Denmark.
There are 261,432 Danes named Jensen, making it the most common last name in the country. On the Central Business Register website, one can find 249 business names with the word ‘Jensen’, while a search for businesses containing ‘Jensens’ produces more hits than the 250 result maximum. 
 
With those numbers in mind, its understandable why Jacob Jensen feels like he got the short end of the stick in a Supreme Court decision on Friday. 
 
Jensen’s fish restaurant, Jensen’s Fiskerestaurant in the northern Jutland town of Sæby, was taken to court by the national steakhouse chain Jensen’s Bøfhus, which argued that Jensen’s Fiskerestaurant infringed on the “distinctive trademark and reputation” of the steakhouse chain.
 
Despite an earlier ruling by the Maritime and Commercial High Court (Sø- og Handelsretten) in Jacob Jensen’s favour, the Supreme Court sided with Jensen’s Bøfhus and ordered the Sæby man to pay 200,000 kroner ($35,000) to the steakhouse chain and an additional 150,000 kroner ($25,900) in court costs. 
 
“I definitely did not expect it. I’m very disappointed. I have used far too much time over the past three years fighting for the right to use my own name and the case will end up costing me half a million kroner. It is annoying and unfair,” Jacob Jensen told Politiken following the ruling. 
 
The ruling may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory for Jensens Bøfhus, which was besieged by one-start ratings and negative comments on its Facebook page. 
 
“I look forward to your lawsuit against me – I don’t plan to change my last name,” wrote Jesper Jensen. 
 
“You should be ashamed of yourselves. What in the hell do you think you’re doing trying to patent the most common last name in Denmark? My name is Jensen and you are damned well not going to decide if I can use my name for business purposes. I’ll never step foot in your restaurants again,” wrote Martin Jensen. 
 
“I personally hope you have ruined yourselves with this one. Yuck, what unbelievably bad style,” wrote Karsten Jensen. 
 
“Perhaps all of us named Jensen should sue you for discrediting our good name,” wrote Pia Søe Jensen. 
 
Jacob Jensen said he appreciated the support and would try to accept the decision.
 
“I must presume that the five smartest people in the legal field are sitting on the Supreme Court and made the decision. They have made their decision and I respect it, even though I think it is hopeless,” he told Politiken. 
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