PARIS — A judge ruled Wednesday that the automaker Renault can call its new electric car Zoe, much to the chagrin of some French women and girls with that first name.
Parents of two children named Zoe Renault had argued in court that their children could end up enduring a lifetime of teasing and annoyance.
The families, who are not related to the car company, wanted Renault to choose another name for the model.
"There's a line between living things and inanimate objects, and that line is defined by the first name," lawyer David Koubbi said. "We're telling Renault one very simple thing: First names are for humans."
But a judge found against Koubbi's clients in a fast-track proceeding, ruling that the parents would only have a case it they could prove that naming the car "Zoe" would cause the children "certain, direct and current harm."
Koubbi said he would appeal the decision.
He insisted that while it's clear the Zoe Renaults of the world would be most affected by the release of the car — slated for 2012 — all of France's estimated 35,000 Zoes would feel the sting.