Friday, 12 November 2010

The perils of naming new cars

Bamboo and Bees, a French business law blog that I don't read as often as I should, reports on a matter that I'd been vaguely aware of - the trouble Renault have run into as a result of a decision to call their new small car Zoé. Not, presumably, to be confused with Zoë, or even Zoe (sans accent). What about the dignity and image of members of Renault familes (of which there are many in France) a member of which might have been given the forename Zoé? Two such families took the car manufacture to court recently, and had the case thrown out.

B&B's report says that this was the juge de référés, who is a judge of fact or evidence, which sounds as if it might not actually be his or her job: and the cases were thrown out because the families had chosen the wrong jurisdiction.

B&B then explains in some detail the jurisdiction of the référés, which is supposed to be for cases of urgency. The cases were brought under Article 809 of the Civil Procedure Code, which is a conservatory jurisdiction - designed to prevent threatened damage occuring. The parties argued that there was imminent damage, in the form of the risk of mockery, attacks on the dignity of the Zoé Renault, and a breach of the principle that forenames are for humans. Renault argued that they had been using the name, sans accent, for some years, and that there wer plenty of other examples of forenams being used as product names. This, they argued, negated any urgency in the case, which was all they had to do.

The families' lawyer says they will appeal - so we haven't heard the last of this yet.

No comments:


blogger templates | Make Money Online