French apparel maker La Chemise Lacoste has been ordered to publicly apologise to clothing firm Singapore Crocodile International after losing a court battle over the use of a crocodile logo.

The Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People's Court on Thursday ruled that Lacoste had violated the trademark of Singapore Crocodile, which has had its reptilian logo registered for the Singaporean market since 1951 and the Chinese market since 1993 under the Cartelo brand.

According to the lawsuit, Lacoste applied to the China Trademark Bureau to register its similar logo in 1995, despite having been registered in other international markets since the 1930s.

In addition to the public apology, which must be tendered within one month, the French company was ordered to pay one US dollar in compensation to the Singaporean trademark owner and cease using the logo within its markets.

Lacoste is now suing Cartelo and its Chinese domestic partners for US$60,240 in compensation for alleged trademark infringement and illegal competition in Beijing.

The case, accepted by the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court in October 2003, has not yet been heard.