This past year has been a struggle for small businesses. We have seen countless hardships and few triumphs as the COVID situation has progressed. One Filipino-American entrepreneur, Celeste Perez, chose a particularly difficult time to launch her small sparkling beverage business, Droplet, at the beginning of 2020. Unfortunately, Droplet caught the attention of a certain corporate mega-conglomerate soon after its inception.
PepsiCo targeted Droplet, originally called Dewdrop, with a trademark dispute for their brand name, claiming that it would be confused with the Mountain Dew brand. Droplet wanted to avoid the costly legal battle, so they made the compromise to limit their usage of the word “dew.” After this encounter, all seemed fine.
In February 2021, a PepsiCo employee purchased some Droplet product, an act of good faith and support for the brand. Things seemed to be great. Shortly after, in March, PepsiCo released Soulboost. A near-identical copy of Droplet’s uniquely distinguishable conceptual and physical traits. Soulboost has similar patterns, color schemes, and overall product designs while targeting the same functional sparkling beverage market as Droplet. An alarmingly similar product—and there’s nothing Droplet can do about it.
Big companies have the funds to take inspiration from anyone, do it bigger, better, and faster. While simultaneously pressuring them from taking any action due to the seemingly unlimited amount of money to put toward legal battle. Small businesses get pushed around and can be pushed out of the market by anyone with money. In the end, it’s up to consumers to determine what’s authentic or not.
Mega-Corporations versus small businesses. Who’s side are you on? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!
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