Are product description pages on an e-commerce site termed as duplicate content, if the same product description appears on other sites? It does happen for many branded products.
It does happen. And most of the time when it happens, it’s because that’s not original content. If you get an affiliate feed and it might have images, it might not have images and you have the same content on your page, your e-commerce product page as four hundred other sites, then really, it’s hard to distinguish yourself. You have to ask, “Where is my value add? What does my affiliate site or my site that doesn’t have original content compared to these other hundreds of sites?”
Whenever possible, I urge you to try to have original content; try to have a really unique value add. Don’t just take an affiliate feed or create a site that’s fly by night; and now, there’s no reason why anybody wants to stumble on your site. So, typically, it’s best if you can find some way to have some kind of unique angle and not just the exact same stuff that everybody else has on their webpage as well.
by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team