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Ask Alex Reese Your Own Question
Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3106
Experience:  Experienced in intellectual property law
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We are a small seller on Amazon. A majority of what we sell

Customer Question

We are a small seller on Amazon. A majority of what we sell are consumer returns and shelf pulls from major retail stores. We are receiving several threatening emails per week stating that we are violating trademark and copy-write laws by listing these products under the proper amazon SKU. The threats range from amazon policy violations to threatening legal action.
This seems to be a pretty wide spread practice and I feel that sellers like me are protected by the First Sale Doctrine in most of these cases. Is it illegal for these parties to harasses and threaten legal / policy violations? Is there anything I can do in order to curve this behavior?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
Hello. Assuming you are selling genuine goods (i.e. not counterfeit in any way) and you properly purchased, there should be no issue unless your purchase included some agreement not to resell. Otherwise, as you note, the first sale doctrine allows the resale of purchased goods.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Everything you state about the acquired goods is correct. How should I respond to these inquiries in order to reduce the likelihood of legal repercussions?
Also is it legal for these companies to send out these threatening letters/emails as scare tactics? I have pasted one of the emails below:Hello *****
We noticed that you are not authorized online retailer for Neewer®
(Registration, no.(###) ###-####in the US ) brand products and you have
listed these particular item(s) (with’’ B0050GSZCY,etc”,which are sold
exclusively by Neewer® authorized retailers.As you may be aware, the unauthorized selling of Neewer® products is
an illegal action that seriously infringes Trademark Law. As the
Trademark owner we did not sell you, nor authorize you to sell, any
Neewer® branded products. Also you are against Amazon's policy. We
kindly request that you follow our instructions:a) Remove your offers from all Neewer® product pages on Amazon.com
within 24 hours, and do not list items on Neewer® product pages in
the future.b) send us confirmation after you remove the product as issue from your listing.If you don’t comply with these demands, we'll have no choice but to
file an official claim with the Amazon.com Seller Performance
Department, which will seriously impact your Amazon performance.Sincerely,
Neewer® Copyright Team
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
it not illegal to send such letters/notices. Now, as long as you make clear you are not an authorized reseller/dealer i.e. not misrepresent anything, or otherwise give the false impression that you are the TM owner then it should be permissible.
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
This assumes there is no agreement that there is to be no "resale"....otherwise it is unlikely they can control downstream sales in this way, they are likely bullying you. But as I mentioned above there are some TM related issues to keep in mind as you want to avoid consumer confusion with the TM owner. If this enterprise is valuable to you then you need to hire an IP attorney to take a closer look and advise you before making any business decisions

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