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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
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I bought like 100 NFL glasses at a hardware store. Would I

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I bought like 100 NFL glasses at a hardware store. Would I be able to sell them without having to have a license? thanks

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

This is somewhat of a complicated situation as the answer is not quite clear. From a purely legal perspective the owner of the copyright can claim that as you purchased 100 items, this is no longer a private sale but a commercial sale. That, therefore, means that you would need to be licensed by them to sell licensed merchandise, even as a re-seller. So on that basis alone the team or NFL itself could potentially send you a cease and desist letter and pursue you for damages.

At the same time, purely from a practical level, it is unlikely that the NFL will pursue a fairly small-time re-seller. They CAN do so if they wish, but the chances of that is fairly small. There is still that risk, and I wanted to make that clear to you if you decide to pursue this.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I still don't understand. So your saying that the owner from the hardware store can say that I bought them for commercial purposes? I'm not even sure the hardware store has a license to sell NFL merchandise. They told me that they get overstocked items all the time for really cheap and they just put them on their shelves to sell. They sold them for really cheap so I thought I could re-sell them and make a little money from them.

so are you saying that as a customer buying NFL glasses from a hardware store that I would really need a license to re-sell them ??

Seems a little strange. ??

Thank you for your follow-up, Terri.

The owner of the hardware sore has a license to resell--it is part of his fee that he paid for the items. Your sale did not come directly from an authorized manufacturer so there is a risk and chance that your re-sale would therefore be challenged. It is the difference from whom you purchased--as you did not buy directly from the authorized warehouse middleman, you did not obtain a commercial right to resell, just a personal license for each and every one of the glasses that you purchased. One sale, that is, one transaction is generally private. Selling 100 of the same item is commercial in nature so a commercial license is required.

It is not that strange, it is the difference between a personal right and a commercial right. To put it in perspective, say you purchase a song on I-tunes. That is your personal song, you can listen to it, but you cannot generally resell it or use it for your own commercial purposes without obtaining additional rights and licenses. Contrast that with a bar purchasing the same song to play in a bar and they have to pay far more as well as pay out royalties as that exact same song is now being used for commercial purposes instead.

Good luck.

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