Turns out that Crocodile Dentist is more than an enduringly popular children’s game! French fashion company Lacoste found that out the hard way, recently losing a court case in which it alleged that the logo of a crocodile-logoed British dental practice infringed upon its famous reptilian trademark. The U.K. government’s intellectual property office recently dismissed Lacoste’s appeal of an earlier decision in the dentists’ favor and ordered Lacoste to pay the defendants 1,450 pounds (which would buy the dentists about 40 Lacoste polo shirts, but we bet they’ll instead splurge on things like, oh, legal fees and hip new fluoride flavors).
Lacoste’s legal action against the dentists–Simon Moore and Timothy Rumney–was like “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut,” they said. “We liked the crocodile design because of the natural association with teeth,” Moore told the Times of London. “They have little birds that pick bits out of their teeth.”
The court decision (available here as a PDF) makes for interesting reading, citing a hearing officer’s reference to the logo’s creature as “a reptilian device” that, when combined with the words “The Dental Practice,” is not likely to be confused with that of Lacoste, even if their goods were similar. She also points out the differences between the reptiles in question, with the dentists using one that faces to the front/right, keeps its mouth closed, and has just one eye. Plus, Lacoste’s “has lighter areas shown along the back of the creature which the effect of suggesting it to have a somewhat knobbly surface.”
Then there’s our favorite part, when she sounds rather dubious about the efficiency of the teeth of reptiles:
I am not convinced that the average consumer would want to share the characteristics of reptiles but to the extent that they are known for having many functional, perhaps even efficient, teeth, the use of a reptile has what may be considered desirable associations with dental services.
We’re just wondering whether this reptilian logo dustup means that Kim Hastreiter‘s prediction for 2108 might already be coming true.