The only proven way to get out of the “copycat trap”, and it applies in any industry is through R&D spend. With R&D comes innovation (if you are lucky and good), and it is only with innovation that one can truly separate from competition. Investing in R&D is hard and it is scary because investing in the future is always hard and scary. If we knew the outcome or had all the answers we would not have to do the work. If you want to use emulation as a strategy, rather than copycating a competitors product, find one with a world class and thriving R&D group, and emulate that instead.