Here’s a fun fact, reminiscent of Trivial Pursuit - René Lacoste was a famous French tennis player and the American press gave him the nickname “Crocodile”, apparently following a bet made with the captain of the French tennis team concerning a suitcase made from crocodile skin. The name however also conveyed the character of his on-court playing style and so a “crocodile” became the perfect brand image for his Lacoste clothing business (which dates back to the 1940s).
The business of course grew into a fashion icon with a global reach. During its expansion it encountered other “crocodile” brands and, at least in New Zealand, this involved Lacoste acquiring an old “crocodile” trade mark registration that dated back to 1961. That trade mark was not a Lacoste original and so not exactly as per its brand guidelines, but was indisputably a crocodile – not least because it used that word and contained a picture of said reptile. As that old trade mark registration was not exactly right, Lacoste never in fact used the trade mark in the form registered.
That was all well and good, until another “crocodile” named entity sought to remove that 1961 registration from the New Zealand trade mark register for non-use, a move which sparked a nigh on 10 year trade mark battle that was recently heard by the Supreme Court.