A French court has reportedly rejected a couple’s choice of name for their baby, “Nutella,” and renamed her “Ella” because “the name ‘Nutella’ given to the child is the trade name of a spread” and “it is contrary to the child’s interest to be wearing a name like that” because it “can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts.”
French parents have apparently been free to choose the names of their children since 1993, but local prosecutors can report names they deem unsuitable to a family court. Another French court recently renamed a child called “Fraise” (strawberry) to “Fraisine,” a popular 19th century name, citing potential teasing. Many international courts have assessed the suitability of baby names and ordered changes; in New Zealand, for example, “Number 16 Bus Shelter” passed muster but “Yeah Detroit” and a series of 38 consonants and 5 numbers (“Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116”) did not. See The Washington Post and BBC, January 26, 2015.