Jump to content
Latest News: (loading..)

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

chasester

General branding and ecommerce law support

Recommended Posts

I will start off by saying I realize no one is giving me legal advice and everything posted below will be thought as opinion, and not as legalize fact.

 

I am looking at marketing some new products and services and I want to know the legality of the products I plan to sell. When an item is branded (say a mouse by Logitech), and what point am I braking the eCommerce law? If i where to take said mouse and sell it customize (say custom paint job) would this be miss branding? Could i see the custom mouse with the Logitech label on it, or list on my webpage that I am selling you Logitech model ".."? Or would i have to just give the specs of the mouse without any conformation of its original brand? Or is this entirely illegal?

 

On a different case, say I am selling a refurbished computer (made and branded by hp) would i be able to take the internals, (motherboard, hd, memory cpu, etc) and sell it in a custom case, that is unbranded, or is made like the mouse above (branded which has been customized, with the original brand removed)?

 

So my man question is at what point does a part become my custom designed item, and at what point is it illegal re branding of branded items? 

 

Of course i understand in all cases i am breaking warranted items.

 

chasester

 

any reference to legal materials, like laws, bills, or ordinances would be very helpful 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, nothing you describe is "illegal" in the sense that you'll be taken to criminal court, and then thrown in prison. However, you could be open to civil suit (fines and/or damages having to be paid). I am not a lawyer (I only play one on television), so I would consult with a real lawyer before proceeding.

 

Trademark owners have to be (by law) rather protective of their property, and if they think someone is abusing or misusing their mark, they will come down hard on you. In the case of a repainted mouse, I would not advertise it as a Logitech mouse, because that could produce confusion in the minds of consumers (as to what exactly Logitech's products are). If the paint job is poor quality and starts flaking off, Logitech could legitimately claim that you have infringed upon their trademark and damaged their brand, and seek compensation. It might be permissible, in the fine print of the product description, to mention that beneath your fancy paint job is a brand new Logitech® quality mouse. I just wouldn't mention them in the product name or headlines. Hopefully, the worst case is that they send you a cease and desist letter, telling you not to mention that it's a Logitech mouse in your advertising or sales material. Then you simply say "brand new quality OEM mouse". It costs them money to take you to court, but remember, they'll have deeper pockets than you, and if they feel there's sufficient threat to their image and customer base, they'll spend that money to stop you.

 

This matter of "enhancing" new brand-name products has been discussed before on this forum, such as adding embroidery to a pair of new Levi's, or modifying a college football team branded cap with some sort of add-on. I don't think any legally binding advice was ever given -- just a suggestion to consult a lawyer, or (perhaps cheaper) get written permission from the trademark owner. There have also been accounts of gray market selling of unaltered goods which have attracted claims of trademark infringement or even counterfeiting. That seems to be a common tactic to scare off unauthorized sales channels, even if you could easily prove in court that they were legitimate products. Of course, exactly what is permitted will depend on the countr(ies) you are operating and selling in.

 

In the case of putting a refurbished HP computer's innards into a custom case, again I would suggest avoiding use of their trademarks. Even though this would probably pass muster as a used good (fair use of a logo), it's best not to attract too much of their attention. You're not going to be able to remove their name and logo from all the internal parts, so again, it probably wouldn't hurt to mention that it's HP-based in the descriptive information. Just be ready to change the wording of the sales literature if and when you get that cease-and-desist letter.

 

If you want to buy a trademarked/logoed product and remove all trace of trademarked names and insignia/indicia, as far as I know that's perfectly legal. Potentially, if every trace of the origin of a product is removed/disguised, there is the possibility you could be sued for patent infringement because you can't prove who manufactured it, so be careful there (particularly with tech products). Of course, if nothing on your mouse now says "Logitech", you'd better not mention "Logitech" in your literature or you'll be open to counterfeiting claims. On the other hand, your potential customers will probably want to know what kind of quality they're getting before they plunk down their money on your goods, so removing all traces of origin might not be a good idea.

 

Finally, Chase, please have someone with good English skills review and correct your sales and marketing materials (including your website). You'll really turn off customers with all those spelling and grammatical errors.


If you are running the "official" osC 2.3.4 or 2.3.4.1 download, your installation is obsolete! Get the latest community-supported responsive "Edge" release

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Finally, Chase, please have someone with good English skills review and correct your sales and marketing materials (including your website). You'll really turn off customers with all those spelling and grammatical errors.

 

Of course, I understand I have a very particular and uncivilized way with words - Marketing is all about how you say it, not what you say :)

 

As to the rest, thanks for your very well formed opinion, I will be talking to a lawyer about other terms and conditions to my project/marketing idea, so i will mention this. The idea that this is a legidiment venture, that could have any merit, to pursue, and not a wild goose chase that ends me in a seize and desist letter, or worst. Thanks for your time and your expertise :)

 

chasester

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×