Clothing companies Crocodile international (based in Singapore) and Lacoste (based in France) have been locked in an almost a ten year trade mark battle over which company should own the crocodile mark in New Zealand that forms part of both companies branding.
In 2008, Crocodile International said Lacoste had not genuinely used the crocodile trade mark and that it should be revoked. New Zealand’s assistant commissioner of trademarks agreed to revoke Lacoste’s crocodile trade mark in 2008. Lacoste then appealed and was successful at the High Court, overturning the original decision.
Crocodile International went to New Zealand’s Supreme Court (after being unsuccessful at the Court of Appeal). The Supreme Court (which is the country’s highest court), in a 2017 ruling, revoked registration of the Lacoste’s crocodile mark from December 1999. The Supreme Court stated that “Lacoste has never used the trade mark anywhere in the world. There is no reason to retain it on the register [of trade marks]”. Crocodile International was also awarded $25,000 in costs. The Supreme Court’s decision does not however mean that another company will be successful in registering a similar crocodile trade mark.