When you create something new that you intend to market for sale, you must be careful about copy right infringement and trademarks, but you also must be careful of making it look like someone else’s product.

There have been 100’s of lawsuits because of look-a-like products. Some years ago, Jeep filed a law suit against Hummer because they said the Hummer front grill looked too much like a Jeep. Hummer won the law suit, but it still probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend the suit.

I have a client that owned his own hotel brand and had 26 hotels named after his family name. At the time (early 90’s) Doubletree Hotels had started giving out hot cookies when you checked in. This client of mine decided he wanted to give a free bag of candy when the guests checked in. He goes out and buys a 750k candy machine and started packaging candy with his logo on it. The candy bag was brown in color and his logo was two letters side by side with the & mark between them. The problem was that when you turned the bag over and looked at the letters upside down it looked identical like a very popular candy band. The company that owns the very popular brand sent a letter telling him to cease and desist. Ha. Today he has a 750k candy machine in his ware house that has never been used again.

It is like that sometimes on a personal level as well. Some people go to a lot of effort to look like someone else when all they really need to do is look like themselves. Therefore, it is not good business or personal choice to be copycat or look-a-like. It might sound like a good idea at first. but every person and every product needs its own identity because it is the product (or person) individuality that sets it apart and makes it valuable. KT

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