Intellectual Property Law

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I am a sculptor, inventor and entrepreneur with an interest

in both robotics and art...
I am a sculptor, inventor and entrepreneur with an interest in both robotics and art. My R&D has taken me many places and has lead me to develop some questions into the import and or possession of some of sex dolls made in China.

First, many sex dolls range in size from life size to quite small. They also range in appearance from very toy like to amazingly realistic. While most sex dolls are made to represent adult females there are a small number of highly realistic Chinese dolls that clearly depict minors. Despite the fact that a sex doll's "age" is something that can be debated, are these dolls actually legal to import, let alone possess here in the United States?

Secondly, wouldn't any photographs of such a doll, whether explicit or even sexually suggestive, violate any pornography or obscenity laws?

Lastly, in dealing with sex dolls manufactured outside the U.S., would anyone need the manufacturer's permission to market parts and accessories to fit specific brands? For example, most sex dolls have removable heads. Would and individual have to get consent from the original manufacturer to market a replacement (very different in design) head to fit a specific brand?
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Answered in 2 hours by:
10/15/2013
Robert McEwen, Esq.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,250
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

There is no restriction on the importation of these dolls, although there could be a ban on certain materials (such as lead) if present in them. That's true across a wide range of products, not just sex dolls.

ScottyMacEsq :

As for pornography, simulated child porn is not illegal. The Supreme Court, in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002), struck down two overbroad provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 because they abridged "the freedom to engage in a substantial amount of lawful speech." This was where simulated child porn was made illegal, but that law was struck down. So pictures of a sex doll, though appearing to be underage, would not violate any law.

ScottyMacEsq :

As for manufacturing replacement parts, no, no one would need the manufacturers permission. Third party parts are permissible, generally speaking, so long as you don't use the name of the manufacturer to imply any connection, affiliation, approval, etc... (which would violate trademark laws), and so long as there is no patent infringement. That second part is key. If there's no patent protecting this, then there would be no issue, but if there is a patent that would be violated, then you could potentially be sued for patent infringement.

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Robert McEwen, Esq.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,250
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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