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Brands: Lookalikes - will the law change?

United Kingdom
Lookalikes - will the law change?

The British Brands Group is continuing to lobby the Government for a change in the law concerning the problem of lookalike products, as was well illustrated by the case between Asda and United Biscuits, the manufacturers of PENGUIN biscuits, which received much publicity last year. In particular, the BBG is attempting to introduce change via the Competition Law Bill which the Government produced last year to plug the gaps in existing trade mark and passing off law. The Bill will be considered by the House of Lords shortly when it is possible that a new provision to deal with lookalikes could be introduced. It is known, however, that the Government is reluctant to extend trade mark law in this way.

In support of its case, the BBG recently commissioned market researchers to carry out a consumer survey. The results showed that consumers were more likely mistakenly to purchase lookalikes rather than a dissimilar competing product, and, further, that they were more likely to believe there to be a commercial connection between brand owners and their lookalike counterparts than between brand owners and dissimilar competing products.