Lacoste wins crocodile copyright conflict in China

22nd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

SHANGHAI, Nov 22 (AFP) - Lacoste, the French maker of polo shirts with a widely recognised crocodile emblem, has won a copyright infringement case against a department store in central China, state press reported Monday.

SHANGHAI, Nov 22 (AFP) - Lacoste, the French maker of polo shirts with a widely recognised crocodile emblem, has won a copyright infringement case against a department store in central China, state press reported Monday.

The Changsha Intermediate People's Court in Hunan province ordered the Changsha Parkson department store to cease selling products carrying a similar emblem to Lacoste's, the China Daily said.

A judge also ordered it to pay CNY 5,000 (USD 600) in damages.

According to the newspaper, the shop was selling belts and wallets by Crocodile International, a Singapore-based fashion goods designer whose products also use a crocodile trademark.

The rival companies are in the middle of a drawn out and bitter battle in China over who has the right to market products with the reptile icon.

The loser could face expulsion from the Chinese market.

The complex trademark dispute centres on Lacoste's general legal right to use a right-facing crocodile while Crocodile International has the rights to a left-facing one.

Lacoste claims that French tennis legend Rene Lacoste registered the logo in 1933 in France and put the reptilian insignia on his own line of sports clothing.

Crocodile International claims it was the first to design the trademark in 1947 with the English word "crocodile" and began selling its products in China in 1993.

Meanwhile in Hunan, Changsha Parkson has appealed the decision to a higher court, saying that since several other trademark lawsuits between the two companies were ongoing, the ruling in Changsha should not be conclusive.

The Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People's Court earlier this year handed down a judgement saying that Lacoste infringed on Crocodile International's copyright.

Similar cases are pending in Beijing and Shanghai.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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