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The end is nigh for the copycat?

22 September 2009

Pimms recently took on Pitchers, and now a few weeks later, Next take on Tesco’s. Next has filed claims alleging that the supermarket has copied up to five of its clothing lines and stolen two design motifs originally designed by Next.

Brand owners have always recognised the value that exists in their designs and their brand. They spend a considerable sum of money to try and protect the rights that they hold in this Intellectual Property (IP). However, over the years copycats have exploited the limited protection that the Courts have afforded brand owners.

Now, it looks like brand owners are ready to have another go at getting the Courts to recognise and protect their IP rights.

However, the Courts seem to be distinguishing “imitation” – i.e. so similar that the public may be confused as to who owns the brand – and “comparison” – where the product is so different that there is no real confusion just an opportunity for consumers to choose the brand they prefer.

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