Dealing with lookalike products
Produced in partnership with Baker McKenzie

The following IP practice note produced in partnership with Baker McKenzie provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dealing with lookalike products
  • What is a lookalike product?
  • Trade mark infringement
  • Passing off
  • Registered and unregistered design rights
  • Copyright
  • Practical tips

Dealing with lookalike products

Lookalike products are, by their nature, difficult for brand owners to deal with. They are intended to mimic or call to mind a well-known or popular product but avoid the typical registered intellectual property rights often relied upon by brand owners. The reason that lookalike products are so difficult to deal with is that in the UK there are no specific IP rights designed to tackle them.

Lookalike manufacturers and designers are also generally sophisticated—they know to avoid obvious trade marked brand names but instead tend to copy the general design and make-up of a product. Consumers are also often not fooled by lookalike products and realise that they are buying a cheaper lookalike brand. Therefore, concepts of consumer confusion and misrepresentation are less straightforward to demonstrate. Nevertheless, lookalikes still eat into brand owner market share and use a brand identity to get a competitive advantage.

In the UK, there are a number of IP rights that may be relied upon to tackle lookalike products. These include:

  1. registered trade mark rights

  2. copyright

  3. design rights (whether registered or unregistered), and

  4. passing off

Each of these rights is considered further below. In the UK, there is no specific cause of action available against lookalikes and, as will be seen further below, the legal requirements to demonstrate an infringement of a particular IP right in the UK

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