Unbundling the Brand: Differentiation and the Law in the Brazilian South American Tea Industry

Teresa Da Silva Lopes, Bruna Dourado, Elizabeth Santos de Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Standard accounts of the concept of ‘modern brand’ consider it to have developed in the late nineteenth century with the second industrial revolution and to have a range of unique characteristics, including a personality of its own and to be protected by law. Modern brands are considered to have succeeded proto brands, which relied essentially on quality and origin for differentiation. To trace this path, standard accounts build strong links between law, brand identity and product differentiation, suggesting that law and brand are ‘symbiotic’. Looking at a country with early, yet relatively weak, trademark law and a poorly structured registration system and focusing on the previously little analysed case of the Brazilian South American Tea industry during the period 1875-1913, it suggests that we need to consider two other types in the evolution of brands: ‘proto legal brands’ and ‘differentiated proto brands’. So doing, this account provides an innovative view of legislation and registration, and their problematic contribution to anti-competitive protectionism.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalBusiness History
Early online date21 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Author(s)


  • Modern brand
  • Proto brand
  • born international’ industry
  • South American Tea Industry
  • Brazil, Argentina
  • differentiation strategies
  • protection of intellectual property
  • internationalization
  • protectionism

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