Posted by Jennifer Sokolowsky on November 11, 2010 03:15 PM
Americans have the reputation of being lawsuit-happy, but it seems like the French might be catching up. Luckily for Renault and any company wishing to give a brand a person’s name, justice has prevailed.
A French judge has thrown out a suit from Lawyer David Koubbi on behalf of two girls named Zoe Renault (ages 2 and 8) that Renault naming its new electric car Zoe would cause them harm from teasing and name-calling. And not only them, but the other 35,000 Zoes in France as well. Talk about a class-less action suit!
"Can you imagine what little Zoes would have to endure on the playground, and even worse, when they get a little bit older and someone comes up to them in a bar and says, 'Can I see your air bags?' or 'Can I shine your bumper?'" Koubbi told The Associated Press. Hence the Gallic gall of the suit. But the judge ruled that parents would have a case only if they proved the car name would cause the girls "certain, direct and current harm."
This is not the first time Renault has used a female name for a car: It also has makes called Clio and Megane. The tiny $20,000 Zoe Preview, to be released in 2012, is clearly aimed at women itself, with an onboard “spa” system developed in association with Biotherm that includes air quality and humidity controls, scent diffusers, “specific audio ambience” and light therapy inside the car.
While Koubbi says he intends to appeal, Renault is standing firm. With all the exposure the case is giving the vehicle, they could probably just consider the legal costs as part of the advertising budget.