As savvy consumers, we are all too aware of the copied / lookalike goods which challenge retail intellectual property. Whilst often, we have the opportunity to choose which item to buy, in terms of the authentic brand verses copied brand, often the difference in price can drive the consumer to make their own choice.

ASDA and Waitrose are the most recent case to go head-to-head in the name of retail intellectual property. With ASDA recently releasing its own discount food version named ‘Just Essentials’, Waitrose has contested that the name is too close to its own discounted food range, ‘Essential Waitrose’. This situation has resulted in Waitrose sending a legal letter to ASDA over trademark concerns and is now an ongoing case.

These two well-known supermarkets are not the only ones to end up in brand / trademark conflicts. UK consumers are all too familiar with the tongue in cheek Aldi TV adverts which claim to offer the same product as their competitors but for sometimes half the price than that of the original brand. Over the years Aldi have found themselves in a variety of disputes. For example, the likes of M&S and its well-known Collin the Caterpillar cake (Aldi’s version looked very similar but was called Cuthbert). And then, M&S’s delightful bottle of Christmas fusion gin, which was produced in a bell-shaped bottle, lit from the bottom, and had gold flakes in the liquid, whilst Aldi produced the same product but for £6.00 less.

Although it seems that Aldi enjoy the attention around their copied brands (it probably means that they sell even more), they are treading a fine line when it comes to retail intellectual property; by this misconduct SME retailers can learn from their actions. After all rarely do SME retailers have big budgets and a highly experienced team of retail intellectual property advisors to support their business. This means that, it’s probably worth not even considering going down the route of copying another retailer’s products.

Retail Intellectual Property considerations for SME businesses

Instead, SME retailers must design ethical brands and product designs which represent their own business and are branded and styled in a way which is unique to them. By doing so they can gain brand recognition, a committed customer base and with the right continuity, could become highly popular and profitable over time.

Here at Crendon Insurance we support innovators, startup businesses, growing cottage industries and small craft businesses, with intellectual property insurance, startup business insurance, commercial insurance, and online retail insurance. To find out how our team could help to protect your company, please get in touch.

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