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BizIPEsq.
BizIPEsq., Attorney
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 996
Experience:  I am a tech attorney and I represent clients with technology, internet and intellectual property matters
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I want to purchase an existing product, remove some of the

Resolved Question:

I want to purchase an existing product, remove some of the internal parts, replace with improved parts, and resell it. Can I rebrand it or do I need permission from the original manufacture?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  BizIPEsq. replied 1 year ago.

BizIPEsq. :

Hello, I will be assisting you

BizIPEsq. :

The answer to this simple question is not simple and not straight forward (as many times in the law). So let give you an overview of the relevant legal issues here and you'll be able to see for yourself

BizIPEsq. :

The Supreme court has recently expanded this right to lawfully purchased products from outside the US.

BizIPEsq. :

Under the first-sale doctrine if you lawfully purchase a product in the US you have the right to do what you wish with that product including re-sellling

BizIPEsq. :

Companies protect their products through patents and trademarks. A patent or a design trademark or trade dress mark protect products in the market place from unlawful imitation and confusion. Specifically trademarks protect consumers from confusion in the market place by similar products.

Customer:

I understand that I can resell it, but can I take a "ABC" brand vacuum cleaner, change some parts in it, change packaging and labeling, and sell it as my own.

BizIPEsq. :

please bear with me as I lay out the foundation

Customer:

i'm sorry

BizIPEsq. :

no worries. I had to introduce several concepts to make a certain point which I will make shortly

BizIPEsq. :

Under the Lanham Act, the concept of “Reverse Passing Off” is derived from the statutory language in § 43(a) prohibiting a “false designation of origin” that is likely to cause consumer confusion and generally happens when one company puts out another company’s product as its own

BizIPEsq. :

I need to briefly log off and reboot for 5 minutes. I will continue with my conclusion when I relog.

Customer:

ok, sounds good

BizIPEsq. :

The Lanham act discusses origin of the product as a possible cause of consumer confusion (origin is not where the product came from but who the product came from i.e. who manufactured the product). Though a recent Supreme Court case narrowed the scope of “reverse passing off” to include actions of complete appropriation of another’s products, stripping off the identifying marks, and then selling the product as one’s own, the risk remains in that the scope of what is permitted or not it evaluated on a case by case basis

BizIPEsq. :

In conclusion, in theory you can take an existing product improve it, re-brand it and resell it provided the new product does not create confusion in consumers and of course provided the new product also complies with patent, copyrights and other rights that the original manufacturer has. Confusion can be attributed to many elements such as looks (the two products look the same), features, peripheral equipment that both share etc.

BizIPEsq. :

So your goal is to create a new product that is recognized in the mind of consumers as being a completely different product.

BizIPEsq. :

In conclusion, in theory you can take an existing product improve it, re-brand it and resell it provided the new product does not create confusion in consumers and of course provided the new product also complies with patent, copyrights and other rights that the original manufacturer has. Confusion can be attributed to many elements such as looks (the two products look the same), features, peripheral equipment that both share etc.

BizIPEsq. :

Thank you for allowing me to assist you.

Customer:

I'll be back, phone call

Customer:

I'm back, reviewing your response now.

BizIPEsq., Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 996
Experience: I am a tech attorney and I represent clients with technology, internet and intellectual property matters
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