A long-running tussle between two corporate crocodiles has resulted in a distinctive Lacoste clothing trademark being revoked.
Singapore-based Crocodile International argued in 2008 that Lacoste hadn't used one of its crocodile logos for three years and should therefore have its trademark revoked.
On Tuesday, after a nine year battle through the High Court and the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court agreed.
The registration of trademark 70068 is revoked from December 1999, and $25,000 in costs was awarded to Crocodile International.
Lacoste had argued while it didn’t use the logo in the form registered, it did use the trademark in different ways and therefore it was still using the trademark.
Trademark lawyer Gus Hazel said the court has effectively narrowed the rights of trademark holders.
"Lacoste had argued for a broad interpretation of rights and that has been rejected.
"Effectively Lacoste was arguing that any use of crocodile is use of our crocodile...effectively a monopoly over the concept of a crocodile...and the court said no, that's too broad.
He says once a trademark is registered but isn't used, it can be removed after three years.
"It's part of a much broader fight between the two companies that's being fought in many jurisdictions."
Rene Lacoste was a famous French tennis player who was nicknamed 'the crocodile', apparently for the tenacity he showed on the court.
In 1933, he formed a partnership to distribute polo shirts embroidered with a crocodile design.
The crocodile trademarks are registered in jurisdictions including New Zealand, Australia, Spain and the UK.
Crocodile International has been using an identical trademark since 1947.
This story first appeared on Newshub and was written by Emma Joliff. http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/02/croc-clash-supreme-court-rules-against-lacoste-in-trademark-battle.html?ref=RLrotator