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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
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I am dealing with a sole authorized distributor to resell a

Customer Question

I am dealing with a sole authorized distributor to resell a particular product. However, this authorized distributor does not want to us to display the products on our website because they are afraid that they would lose their license from the original manufacturer. Is their worry have any basis? How am I going to sell the product if I cannot display them on my website? What can and cannot display on my website?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

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

To answer directly, some manufacturers do place limitations on distributors as far as advertising the products. Many, for example, bar resellers from posting anything but the MSRP and no sale price even if there is a sale (that is why some sites simply place the value and invite you to call them for the real price, or as some resellers like Amazon do it, when you add the item to the shopping cart, then the 'real' discount appears. So it does depend on how the distributor's agreement is structured--there may be a requirement that as a condition of resale the item is not formally displayed. You can ask to see that agreement, and see if and how it is written. But as far as what you can display, you can still list the item, and potentially place a small image of it, either one that was provided to you by the manufacturer or distributor, or one you took yourself.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
you are saying it is ALWAYS legal to list the item (which is obvious I know because how are we going to sell the product)? What about the use of the item part. no.? Do we have to have our own part number? Can we not use the original manufacturer's part number? This one will have an added convenience because our customer can use that part number to look up the details of that item in the manufacturer's website. Lastly, our distributor will not provide image (and in fact will not allow us to list the items), so we have to come up with a generic image which is OK in these kinds of products. Would you kindly further comment on these questions? Thank you!
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

It is not ALWAYS legal to list an item, but it is legal to list an item if it is not controlled or restricted. You can have your own part number, I genuinely cannot comment on whether the original manufacturer's part number is ***** because that may be proprietary. This is what the agreement would list, and as that belongs to the manufacturer they may bar use. I would not be able to understand the logic behind such a bar, but it would be permissible. A generic image is more than fine, and as I stated, you can also take your own physical image of the item, and use that as the template as well. For example if you are selling pens, you can take your own picture of this pen as a representation of the items and use that image online.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.

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