Food and drink manufacturers will have to think twice about copying rivals' products following a landmark ruling in the UK courts.

Lookalike perfume packaging was found to have infringed L'Oréal's trademark rights in a high-profile trade infringement case involving Bellure, a Belgian importer of cheap perfume into Europe. The court ruled that a Trésor copycat infringed L'Oréal's packaging registration, while a Miracle copycat infringed its bottle registration.

The decision has serious ramifications for trademark registration. Most companies tend to register just unique aspects of their product or packaging. L'Oréal helped its cause by registering three trademarks each for Trésor and Miracle.

More thorough trademark registration would protect more products against copies, said John Noble, director of the British Brands Group.