The term ‘Horunge’ can be read as an invective, but it is also an old Swedish type setting term describing words or short lines at the beginning or end of a paragraph that are left hanging at the top or bottom of a column.
In English these are called ‘widows and orphans’. In Swedish, they are called ‘Whore-children’ (horungar).
After being turned down in 2009 by the Swedish Patent and Registration Agency (PRV), the company filed an appeal.
In its appeal, the company argued it was using type-setting terminology and said that as it was aiming its services at the graphics business, which would understand the relevance of the term and thus not cause offence as a trademark.
But the company’s appeal fell flat, with the appeals court finding that the ‘whore-child’ moniker could nevertheless be considered offensive.
According to Swedish laws on branding, the potential to offend is enough of a reason to deny the right of registration.
As a result, the company will have to abandon the idea of trademarking the ‘Horungen’ name.
Recently Swedish Channel 5 was denied the right to secure the trademark for ‘Pensionärsjävlar’ (‘Pensioner Bastards’), the name of a humour television show currently on its second season in Sweden.
The reasoning behind this decision was the same – that the name could cause offence.
According to Swedish trade site Brandnews, other brands that have previously been denied trademark in Sweden include Jesus Jeans and Opium perfume, with the latter finally getting its trademark after 20 years in the shops.