P&G have commenced proceedings in the High Court and accuse Poundstretcher of infringing its trademark by selling counterfeit versions of haircare products between 2013 and 2014. In relation to the same allegations the U.S. company is also taking legal action against two wholesalers, namely, Home and Beauty and J&S Brands.
It is reported that the issue was first brought to P&G’s attention in 2013. A customer who had purchased Ariel laundry powder in Sutton-in-Ashfield had complained to Trading Standards about the purchase. Subsequent lab tests showed the goods to be false.
According to the Times newspaper, P&G agents apparently purchased a variety of Head & Shoulders products from Poundstretcher stores; all of which were found to be counterfeit. Last year the consumer giant traced the goods back to Home and Beauty, J&S along with two other suppliers which won’t be facing action.
P&G are seeking to recover damages and demand to be told the origins of the counterfeit products. Poundstretchers and Home and Beauty have yet to submit defences to the claim. Whilst J&S has said it “does not admit” to having stocked or sold the products. It added that “it believes” its products were legitimate, although it now knows that the marketplace was “awash” with counterfeit goods at the time.
In recent years discount stores have attempted to lure shoppers with a choice of copycat goods ranging from confectionary to cosmetics, which are sold at a fraction of the price that the original goods would demand.
Director of the British Brands Group, John Noble, said previously that mimicking the packaging designs of familiar brands is a trick to boost sales. “The penny is beginning to drop that shoppers are not well served by such copying and the Government is consulting on making consumer protection law more effective in this area,” he said , “this would be good news . Such copying free-rides off brand reputations and does not offer shoppers real choice. Products should compete on their own merits and not mislead shoppers or act as parasites on brands.”