Not so single Pringles

In the supermarket you will find a whole trademark world:

  • You have the premium brands; they have a huge reputation and are well-known.
  • You also have the brands of the supermarket itself (the household brands): good quality but the price is below that of the premium brand.
  • And you have the wannabe brands: brands that want, as much as allowed, to free ride on the reputation of the premium brand, often, by copying colours, names, packaging etc.

The wannabe brands do the copying often carefully: they only will copy what is necessary to create an association or link. And always the elements that are difficult to claim.

This is how we came across the example of Potato Crisps, a clear case of the premium brand Pringles and the wannabe brand. The packaging is the same, just like the yellow letters on a red background, the chips on the bottom with original in white and of course the moustache.

However, everything has been done in such a way that from a trademark perspective, there is just enough distance, although you directly will link this product with Pringles. A nice example of a free-rider.

For Pringles, these free-riders are a nightmare: perhaps there is no direct confusion, however, because of these kind of brands the distinctive elements of Pringles dilute. The latter might be just enough reason to further assess this matter.

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Arnaud Bos

“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”



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