2 September 2019TrademarksSaman Javed

Children’s fashion brand asks court to rule out Lacoste TM infringement

A US-based children’s clothing company has asked a court to pass judgment that its products do not infringe Lacoste’s famous crocodile trademarks.

The complaint, filed Friday, September 30 at the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, claims that in May, Lacoste sent Vive La Fete a cease-and-desist letter threatening litigation for trademark counterfeiting, infringement, dilution and unfair competition.

Lacoste allegedly demanded that Vive destroy products “with no resemblance to Lacoste’s IP”, and pay the French company an “exorbitant sum” in order to avoid damages “which would most likely cause the closure of Vive’s business”.

According to the filing, Lacoste had taken issue with the use of images of alligators on Vive’s clothing, which it said infringed its crocodile trademarks.

Vive said it produces clothing in a variety of designs, often portraying images of animals which are attractive to children. It said the images on its clothing do not identify the source of the product, rather each type of image is a “different option for decoration”.

“Vive’ products which contain alligators are sold along with a variety of different decorative designs containing a menagerie of types of animals. Alligators are simply one example of the types of animals portrayed in these decorations,” the filing said.

Vive said that it had stopped selling any apparel which Lacoste claims is infringing “out of fear of Lacoste’s threats,'' adding that it has “no intention to infringe” Lacoste’s IP.

The children’s brand said Lacoste was threatening legal action despite the “lack of similarity of design and lack of similarity of sales to the same retail outlets” between Vive and Lacoste’s products.

Additionally, Vive said that no actual confusion had occurred and that there is “no reasonable likelihood” that a consumer would think its products had a connection to Lacoste.

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21 February 2017   The Supreme Court of New Zealand today revoked a trademark depicting a crocodile that is owned by fashion brand Lacoste.