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High street supplier wins trademark battle with Lacoste

Outerwear supplier Baker Street Clothing has won a four-year trademark battle with fashion brand Lacoste over the use of the word ‘alligator’.

Lacoste opposed Baker Street’s registration of the word, which the company uses on its clothing range, for being too close its iconic crocodile logo and claimed it would confuse consumers. Lacoste won the initial dispute in 2006.

However, Cheshire-based Baker Street, which supplies a number of high street stores, appealed the ruling and the case focused on whether the public would associate a word for one reptile with a physical and well-known international brand.

Last week, Geoffrey Hobbs QC decided in favour of the supplier on the grounds that the word alligator would not lead an individual to associate it with Lacoste’s crocodile logo.

Ian Morris, head of intellectual property at Kuits Solicitors, which represented Baker Street, said: “This is a very significant decision limiting the extent of the monopoly of a famous trademark.”

Baker Street managing director Joel Brown said he was “delighted” by the judgment and it is understood that the company now plans to start talks with retailers, such as Debenhams, to launch the Alligator range in stores.

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