What to do if someone is copying your business | Liz Theresa
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What to Do if Someone is Copying Your Business: Copycats and Competitors

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I was watching Good Morning America the other day (you KNOW I love that show) in the living room and I had the Today Show playing in the kitchen. In one room, I saw my beloved segment GMA does – the “Deals n’ Steals” hosted by Tory Johnson. I’m always riveted. 

In the kitchen, I realize that the Today Show has come out with their own version – aptly called, “Steals and Deals.”

There’s no legal issue here (I’m not a lawyer) as far as I can see – it’d be difficult to proclaim you own the rights to simple nouns like deals and steals anyway. So in this instance, it may best to just choke on this platitude: Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

But wait, Liz. Someone stole my brand.

This is something I’ve heard before. OK – odds are that you are over-thinking this and overreacting. We are all INFLUENCED in our businesses by other products, by other companies, and by our own industries. Knowing the difference between a copycat and a competitor is key, use this list to help determine what to do if someone is copying your business.

And remember – business ideas and methodologies cannot be patented.

 Copycats…

  • Copy the copy right off of your website and used it as their own. If not completely, then in large chunks.
  • Mimic the exact layout of your website, down to the last color.
  • Want to be perceived as YOU to consumers who may think they are YOU.

 Competitors…

  • Offer the same types of products and services that you do and may even present it similarly with SIMILAR copy.
  • Might have the same layout, but use different images, text, and colors.
  • Want to be perceived as perhaps similar to you, but ultimately better than YOU

Liz. I see your point. But my copycat is a REAL copycat. Not a competitor. What do I do?

Well, I implore you to be absolutely certain they’re infringing on your branding and your rights. If it’s really bugging you and if you are noticing it affecting business, I wouldn’t shy away from confronting the copycat and asking what’s what. If you confront them, they may back down immediately.

Bottom line though – stop complaining. Just be better than your copycat and then there is really NO competition.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, Liz… but I think I’m a copycat!

This wouldn’t totally shock me, Reader. This reminds me of a quote…

Steve Jobs (quoting Picasso) once said, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.”

I’m not sure I agree with Jobs here, but there is truth to the idea that we are all heavily influenced by others. Being similar to another brand is nothing to be ashamed of so long that when people go to your website, they aren’t immediately thinking you are that other company. Does that make sense?

Are you a copycat? Have you been copied? What did you do? Share on social media using the buttons below!

 

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and therefore cannot consult on legal matters. Consult an attorney to get answers about any of your intellectual property or legal questions.

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