Nicaragua: Are duped products a risk for brands? | Denton


Dupe is an abbreviation of duplicate. It also means deceiving, using impure methods to achieve one’s own ends. In the field of trademarks and trade, this term refers to products that imitate the appearance or results of luxury, recognized and high-end brands, without using them as such, with a visually similar image, with trademarks legitimate and claiming to be safe products.

Dupe products have experienced a big boom on social networks, especially in cosmetics and perfumery. They have become an attractive alternative for consumers, providing them with cheap and aesthetically pleasing options. Some influencers even compared the brand’s products to dupes, showing similar results, making the originals seem replaceable, though they don’t look into its quality, durability, or formulation.

Multinational companies, whose primary means of selling are online stores, have increased their presence and sales over the past two years. Therefore, it is very common to find on these sites clothes with the same prints and patterns of prestigious brands, but at a lower price and with a different quality, where the only differentiator is the brand or its absence.

There is a fine line between deception, imitation and counterfeiting of products, which presents a risk for the owners of intellectual property rights. Dupe not only provides equal results and is similar to other brands, such as cosmetics, whose presentations make them easily distinguishable. It is also products such as clothes, shoes, glasses and bags that look dangerously similar to the originals, at least visually. The dupe is torn between taking inspiration from the designs of big brands and imitating them. Some are even presented as “products of duped designers”, crossing the commercial border and becoming an act of unfair competition, using a product marketed by a third party to mold and reproduce another, using the designs of intellectual creators, which also sets aside the rights of these authors.

Latin American legislation has valuable protection tools for holders of intellectual and industrial property rights. Some include more than logos and designations, such as registering three-dimensional marks that protect product design, packaging, shape and visual image. Countries like Mexico, for example, recognize commercial image as a type of trademark, this means that the protection includes elements such as size, design, color, label, packaging and any other element distinguishing products on the market.

In recent years, various initiatives promoted by the private and public sectors have involved international organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the Inter-American Intellectual Property Association intellectual (ASIPI, for its acronym in Spanish). Border control, the capacity of authorities and the transformation of protection tools into effective actions have been promoted in order to strengthen measures that depend not only on the degree of protection of trademarks, but on the application and international and local efforts against piracy and unfair competition.

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