Two English dentists fend off crocodile logo challenge from Lacoste

The Canadian Press
Two English dentists have fended off attempts by Lacoste to prohibit the use of a crocodile similar to the French fashion company's logo.

Britain's trademark watchdog confirmed Thursday that it rejected an appeal by Lacoste SA of an earlier ruling that found the dentists' crocodile would not confuse consumers.

The logo used by the Dental Practice in Cheltenham, 160 kilometres west of London, features the right side of a crocodile with two feet visible and its tail sharply curled to the left. They tried to register the logo in 2004 but lawyers for Lacoste contested it.

Lacoste argued the logo looked too much like the crocodile it has stitched into shirts since 1933.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Rene Lacoste, who was nicknamed "the Crocodile," first put the logo on the breast of shirts he designed for playing tennis. His short-sleeved cotton collared T-shirts are now a wardrobe staple around the world.

The reptile was ideal for the dentists, they said, because of its teeth.

Dentists Simon Moore and Tim Rumney, who represented themselves, were not immediately available for comment, but Moore was quoted by The Times newspaper as comparing Lacoste's efforts to "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut."

Lacoste was ordered to pay US$2,875 to cover the dentists' expenses, according to the ruling by the U.K. Intellectual Property Office.

Lacoste's lawyer declined to comment.