Some consumers can't tell the difference between brands

biscuits A lot of people can't tell the difference between own-branded and branded goods, according to a survey by Which!!!

Which!!! asked 7,855 members various questions, and discovered that around a quarter of them have difficulty telling the brands from the own-brands, and have sometimes ended up buying the own brand goods by mistake! (the clots).

One of the main examples used was the similarity between McVitie’s Ginger Nuts and Lidl’s Tower Gate Ginger Nuts (pictured). Once the brand names had been blocked off, 39% of respondents confused Lidl with McVitie's.

Other own-brands that the research suggested bore an uncanny resemblance to branded labels included Aldi’s Snackrite Thick Ridged Crisps (similar to McCoy’s), and Lidl’s Newgate Cream of Tomato Soup (similar to Heinz).

According to legal professional Lee Curtis, partner and trademark attorney at law firm HGF, says the basic test for a design right infringement is if the non-brand gives of the air of the real brand, but even if that's the case, Curtis says: “Most of the main offenders for copying are big supermarkets. Brand owners will be scared of their commercial power and of being delisted – for many, supermarkets are their biggest customers, and they don’t want the hassle.”

Some companies have tried to legalise elements of their branding, but for some to no avail. Such is the case for Cadbury, which last year lost a legal battle to secure exclusive rights to Pantone 3685c purple in chocolate packaging.


  • Connor
    *2685c And I thought Cadbury won that suit?
  • Mr C.
    Not sure I would take any advice from Lee Curtis - design right relates to the 3D shape of an object. The issue here is Trade Mark confusion and/or Passing Off rather than design right.
  • Design R.
    Posted by Connor, Cadbury lost the case on appeal:-
  • Mad B.
    "Lidl’s Newgate Cream of Tomato Soup (similar to Heinz)" Yeah, right. It is in a cylinder of the same size and is mostly red in colour. As for the ginger nuts, Lidl dont sell the McVitie version, so no way to confuse the two and buy the wrong one. (The Lidl version is better anyway).
  • Lee C.
    The quotes in the article here are taken from an article originally published in Design Week: The article and indeed I go on to refer to trade mark law being probably the best way to tackle this issue in the Design Week article, but unfortunately those quotes didn't seem to get into the article above. Also Design Rights (Community Design Rights) do cover aspects of design beyond 3D elements (lines, contours, shape and colour) and indeed those rights although only available for 3 years from the design being made available to the public would apply to any design right owner regardless of nationality. UK Design Right only covers 'shape and configuration'. At least the article has sparked some interest.

What do you think?

Your comment