Friday, 13 January 2012


Just a short note that the European Commission published today a study on the existing national legal protection measures against "parasitic copying" (Hogan Lovells Final Report on Parasitic Copying for the European Commission). What is parasitic copying, you might ask? It is a practice of marketing products ("parasitic copies", "look-alikes" or "slavish imitations") which are designed to resemble and look like pre-existing products of well-established and well-known brands. Competitors of well-known brands use it to confuse and mislead consumers, as well as to boost their own sales, therefore getting a free ride on someone else's hard work. The study's conclusion is: Member States differ vastly as to the legal measures that parties may take against such marketing practices. This is unfortunate taking into account that the aim of this practice is clearly to confuse consumers and make them associate two competing products, clearly constituting and example of a potential unfair commercial practice. Both consumers as well as competitors should have access to clear and consistent measures to fight with these practices in the EU.

Below are examples of possible parasite (misleading) packaging taken from a report of British Brands Group organization of 2010.

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