Figured it out
I simply replaced the component name along with associated filenames in the original zip file. I'll try to explain.....
I downloaded the original component, in this case I am using a portfolio component, then extracted the zip file. Found out the name used in Joomla for the component which happens to be "com_portfolio".
So, I used a tool called find & replace which will look through a specified directory for any specific text that you ask it to (do a Google search, there are tons of these free tools). Had it look through all the files in the downloaded zip file (after it was extracted) and find the word "portfolio" and replaced it with "portfolio2". This changed every instance of the word portfolio in every file.
Then I did a search for all folders and filenames which include "portfolio" in the same directory ( in Windows you can do this with the search tool in the Start Menu). Modified each file that had the word "portfolio" to "portfolio2". This means all the files that include the word portfolio - "admin.portfolio.html" would now be "admin.portfolio2.html" for example and folders like "com_portfolio" would now be "com_portfolio2".
After changing the folders and filenames I created a new zip file with the main folder, this is the top level of the extracted zip file which should have the same name as the original zip file that was downloaded. Installed this file as a new component in Joomla and so far has worked flawlessly as a completely new component.
By doing it this way, Joomla sees the new zip file as a completely different component than the original and it takes care of writing the data in the DB for you but doesn't mess up the original DB. Obviously you should try this on a dummy site before trying on a live site because there may be something different in the specific component that you are using that may need some tweaking. Oh yeah, make sure to back up your site before trying any of this. My first couple of tries had undesireable results until I figured out what I was doing.
Best of luck,