In Spain in 2013 white label products covered 33,9 % of the family expenses. Due to the crisis Spanish families look for a better offer, comparing quality and price. Even though the UK is the country which spends more money on white brands and offers, in Spain regular brands are 66% more expensive than white brands, even though they are not considered as white brands in most cases because they have their own name and package (but they don’t spend money in marketing or publicity). This increase leads to a fight between manufacturers, which are the companies investing and financing development programs, and suppliers, which take advantage of the created product and produce it with cheaper means to provide a different and more affordable product available for all consumers.
The question is: How does this affect the IP field? Well, IP is all about innovation and creating new trademarks is a big part of it. Due to the white brands created by the same company that creates a big well known trademark (inter-brand competition), the smaller manufacturers disappear, not being able to compete with all the brands in the market. This is a serious problem because if there are not manufacturers there is no diversity, innovation nor offer. In Spain between 2001 and 2009 the 30% of dishwasher brands disappeared as well as 50% of yogurts and 57 % of pasta.
This issue has reached the government and that is why the Foreign Trade Institute (ICEX) of Spain even supports the Spanish trademarks abroad launching a series of aid programs every year. Also, these “cheap” products raise their prices as soon as they have an extensive loyal customer base. Even the Spanish Consumers and Users Organization (OCU) is concerned about this because each year white brand products rise their prices without consumers knowledge and this means that there are no cheap products for the poorest consumers.