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Snap? Lacoste sues Marks & Spencer over ‘copycat’ crocodile claim

·2-min read
An M&S child’s jacket, left, and the Lacoste logo, right  (M&S/Lacoste)
An M&S child’s jacket, left, and the Lacoste logo, right (M&S/Lacoste)

First caterpillars, now crocodiles. Marks & Spencer is embroiled in another trademark battle over the shape of a creature, writes Bloomberg’s Ellen Milligan.

Lacoste sued the British retailer over allegations it has infringed its famous crocodile logo by using similar images on dungarees to duvet covers, and even a child’s bucket hat.

Lacoste said in the suit filed at London' High Court court that it had written to the storied retailer last year demanding it cease advertising and selling of the goods.

Marks & Spencer refused.

The French fashion brand has now asked a London judge to impose an injunction against the the chain and an order to destroy all items bearing the crocodile at its own expense.

It is not the first spat over creature trademarks that Marks & Spencer has found itself.

 (quentinblake.com)
(quentinblake.com)

The retailer sued grocery rival Aldi, over allegations it copied its iconic Colin the Caterpillar cake with a similar looking treat called Cuthbert.

“Animal prints are incredibly popular with our customers and last season selected ranges included decorative crocodile patterns,” a spokesperson for Marks & Spencer said.

Part of Lacoste’s claim relates to products that featured in Marks & Spencer’s Roald Dahl collection, most of which has been sold.

The retailer has previously featured other creatures from children’s author Roald Dahl’s stories on its products.

“All of these products were created independently of any other retailer and we’re confident are unique to M&S and will robustly defend against the claim,” the spokeswoman said.

It is yet to file its defence papers.

The Lacoste brand was created in around 1933 by tennis player René Lacoste who was nicknamed ‘the Crocodile’, lawyers for the French company said in their filing.

M&S “had no due cause to adopt branding which is likely to cause confusion, to give it an unfair marketing boost.”

Lacoste did not respond to a request for comment.

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