Misleading Copycat Branding by Own-Label Retailers Could Face Stricter Laws

A report by comparison website Which? has highlighted the problem of copycat packaging, with consumers reporting feeling "annoyed" and "misled" by own label brands that imitate established brands.

The Which? study discovered that most of the major UK supermarkets offer own-label equivalents to well-known brands that dupe shoppers - a fifth of consumers claimed they had bought an imitation brand by mistake, while of these 38% felt mislead and 30% were annoyed.

Major retailers that offer own-label products which closely resemble respected popular brands include Aldi, Lidl, Boots and Superdrug.

Under current UK laws, it is difficult for established brands to take legal action against copycats, since they have to rely on "passing off" rules which require the brand to prove the copycat is deliberately trying to foil consumers into thinking it is the branded product they intended to buy.

This could be due to change however, as in March the European Commission announced its intention to tighten EU-wide regulations under the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD), which would include stricter regulation of copy-cat branding.

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