Copycat Branding

Lookalike branding techniques are extremely common amongst competitor brands. The quote ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ doesn’t apply to successful branding. In all businesses there is competition.

Owners of luxury brands need to be aware of copycat branding to protect their label. Many luxury goods are seen as unique, handcrafted and irreplaceable. It frames its identity around a creator, the history of its roots. Brands that attempt to copy the appearance of these luxury brands risk being criticised.

Over the years there have been tensions amongst brand owners and retailers but have been kept hidden from the public eye. Forever 21 has been sued more than 50 times for allegedly stealing the work of other designers off the runway and making near-exact copies. However, Forever 21 continues to get away with it. These claims are brought under copyright law based on the fabric pattern used in their product.

”The last case to reach the public glare was between Sainsbury’s and Diageo in 2009, and revolved around a copycat version of Pimms. However, the growing prospect of greater protection from UK and European lawmakers means more brand owners may be emboldened to break cover in the future.”(Chapmen, PR Week, 2013)

Companies are at liberty to file lawsuits for trademark infringement if their brand name or identity is copied in markets. A company can protect itself and its products from imitators by registering copyrights in fabric, such as lace and registering trademarks cover the words or symbols used to sell a company’s goods.

Without such protection, chances of winning an infringement claim can be tricky. Establish trust by being cautious about who you share your work and ideas with. Competition always comes with the territory when it comes to business.

Written by Elizabeth Boyes


Why cold war copycat branding may set heat; Available at: (Last accessed:11.04.2013)

The copycat business plan; Available at: accessed: 11.04.2013)

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