Diageo scores Pyrrhic victory against Sainsbury’s in copycat tussle

PimmsWhat a pity. The Diageo/Sainsbury’s copycat dispute has ended in a whimper, not a bang. Still it’s a result of sorts for brand-owners.

Under the terms of the out-of-court settlement, Sainsbury’s will be forced to modify its Pitchers label, so it looks less like Diageo’s Pimm’s brand, on which it is so obviously based. Likewise, Sainsbury’s has agreed to make its own branding more prominent, lest there be a suspicion of passing off.

Diageo is to be congratulated on its pluckiness in taking on the all-powerful supermarket bullies in the first place. And we should of course be mindful that prolonged legal proceedings against one of its principal customers might a) have led to considerable collateral damage and b) knowing the asinine legal system, have produced a negative result. Nevertheless, this is far from a conclusive victory. Sainsbury’s gets to keep the label; still less has it been forced to withdraw the product.

It remains to be seen how much of a shot across the bows this will be for future transgressors.

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