« Dupes » : don’t despair, industrial property is your answer!

Dupes are luxury and on-trend brands' new nightmare. Several billion views on TikTok for a generation looking for low-cost products, often from the fast fashion sector, but which look like top-of-the-range products that convey an image dreams are made of.

Dupes: a new term for counterfeiting that dares not speak its name?

While dupes generally avoid reproducing the brand or counterfeit of the imitated product on the product sold or its packaging, manufacturers or retailers rely on influencers on social media or salespeople in shops or on display shelves to indicate that the product sold at a low price is in fact a dupe of brand X or Y.

However, associating a product with a brand without authorisation, even verbally, is reprehensible. Case law relating to concordance tables associating the fragrance of a branded perfume with a cheap product is fully applicable.

In addition, other means of protection are available to companies in order to protect their creations and innovations and allow them to react against the marketing of dupes: designs and models to protect the aesthetics of a product, copyright to protect the originality of a product, patents to protect the technical aspects of creations, and the organisation of the protection of know-how are all options that should not be overlooked.

These strong levers can be supplemented, if need be, by arguments relating to unfair and parasitic competition, but also to health because of the often dubious or even dangerous quality of the products, or respect for human rights because of the conditions under which they are manufactured by women and children in safety and hygiene conditions that are all too often unacceptable. It is therefore important for companies to protect their creations and highlight their manufacturing ethics; this must be an integral part of their strategy. And it’s time for dupe enthusiasts to take practical account of all the aspects related to this new addiction, which have little in common with the ideas of eco-responsibility and respect for human rights that they promote in parallel!  

Published by

Martine Bloch-Weill

Managing Partner