English Private Brand is Sued.

pitchers-pimmsI received a fascinating email from a reader yesterday that spurred a long and fascinating conversation on branding, private brands and retailing in general. The reader a CPG professional forwarded the following article from the British daily newspaper The Telegraph.

Intellectual property lawsuits are certainly nothing new in the world of Private Brands, but this combined with the current economic climate and shifting legal sentiment in England has the potential to shift the nature of Private Brands.

“Me to” is not a valid positioning statement as Private Brands and Retailers begin to emerge they must stand for more than copying at a lower price. They must differentiate and build great brands.

Diageo sues Sainsbury’s over Pimm’s ‘copy’

Diageo, the world’s biggest drinks company, has launched legal action against J Sainsbury, the supermarket chain, over copyright infringement of its Pimm’s brand.

The drinks group believes Sainsbury’s decision to launch Pitcher’s, an alcoholic drink to which lemonade and fruit can be added, infringes its intellectual property rights.

Sainsbury’s is one of Diageo’s biggest customers in the UK and the drinks group’s decision to take legal action against the retailer will catch many in the industry by surprise.

The relationship between retailers and their suppliers has grown increasingly fractious in the wake of the economic downturn. Food and drinks companies suggest retailers are imposing harsher payment and pricing terms in a bid to maintain their profit margins.

“We can confirm that we have issued legal proceedings against Sainsbury’s in relation to an intellectual property matter,” a spokesman for Diageo said.

Read the entire article. Diageo sues Sainsbury’s over Pimm’s ‘copy’

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.