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To copy or not to copy? Making the case for successful imitators and innovators

Illustration by Jason Lee for TIME

A breakthrough product begets a me-too army of competitors. First there was Starbucks; now there is specialty coffee in every fast-food joint in the country. Evian and Perrier had the U.S. bottled-water field to themselves in the 1980s; now some 1,000 brands vie for an $11 billion market.

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