Free-Riding and Luxury Brands on the Internet

Olivier P. Bomsel

Abstract


Luxury is a complex industrial activity whose products combine strong vertical differentiation and a meaning value for the consumer. Luxury offers experiences, the economy of which is based on signalling. This gives rise to intense intangible investment internalized by trademark law and vertical restraints in distribution. However, the extent of the added value and the power of externalities associated with communication generate many sources of free-riding.

Using the tools of industrial economics, this article analyses how the digitization of information and transactions creates new forms of free-riding in relation to luxury brands. Identifying vertical disintegration as a major source of free-riding, it calls for improved internalization of the enforcement of trademark law by all players in the digital value chain.


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/ibr.v7n3p60

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

International Business Research  ISSN 1913-9004 (Print), ISSN 1913-9012 (Online)

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