Lacoste, one of the most important clothing and accessory brands in France, has lost the trademark infringement case against the Dutch Hema.
Lacoste claimed that the crocodile pattern on Hema's clothes would cause confusion among the average consumer; but the court emphasized that the average consumer would perceive the shape of the crocodile as decoration rather than as a source of origin.
The court also stated that the use of animal graphics in garments produced especially for children is a general practice; the products in question are only sold under the trademark Hema and Hema using different animal figures in their products for children in each season.
Therefore, the court ruled that no trademark infringement in using the crocodile graphic in clothing.
This decision is an important precedent decision for the implementation of the source of origin in the trademark matters.