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Resale of Retail Goods Purchased Online

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by Elvira7, Sep 23, 2010.

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  1. Elvira7

    Elvira7 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am planning to open a brick and mortar retail outlet store. I plan to purchase name brand products such as Hurley, Calvin Klein, Nike, etc. and resell the items in my retail store.

    I am advised by the varous retailers that it is perfectly legal to sell anything that I have purchased....no matter the product. Is this true?

    I just want to be sure of all of the legalities before I proceed.

    Any info or direction to website link on this topic would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    That all depends from whom you've purchased the merchandise you plan to resell. If you bought it from "Louie the Lion", who happens to be selling it out of a trailer, down by the docks at 3:00 am; for 1/5 the wholesale value, maybe not. Or, if you buy it from "Buy Low", who is selling "knock off" merchandise, maybe not.

    Some merchandise can only be sold if one is an authorized retailer. There are many other caveats. I suggest you retain a local attorney, before you do too much more. This is, a business, isn't it?
     
  3. Elvira7

    Elvira7 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    No, I don't plan to purchase from "louie" or anything that might possibly be fake goods. I have talked to a lawyer, but he is not too up on retail law. He thinks everything would be fine due to "First Sale Doctrine"....as long as I don't advertise as a distributor.

    I am asking the question here to reassure myself...and thought that was what this forum would do.

    Thanks.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    As I said, some items offered for commercial sale, must be sold through established and approved vendors/retailers.

    An example would be a Louis Vuitton handbag, certain sports team memorabilia, a Mercedes-Benz automobile, certain gourmet food products, etc... The First Sale Doctrine doesn't always apply.

    But, I hope you see the problem. Ask two lawyers the same question, and you'll get four answers. A legal opinion isn't law, nor is it binding. However, the opinion your attorney gave you, could serve to help you avoid prosecution, as long as you operate in good faith.
     
  5. Elvira7

    Elvira7 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks. I guess that is what I am trying to find out for sure. Why doesn't the First Sale Doctrine always apply ? Very confusing.......
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I can't condense a three year legal education or even a one semester law school course into an Internet thread. Let's just say that there are many exceptions to most principals under law.

    But, what is it you plan or would like to sell. You give me a few specific examples, and I'll try to offer a legal opinion on the efficacy of selling the items.

    I'll start it with a couple. Let's say you want to sell Hershey's candy products. You buy these products from a vendor named, Chocolate Charlie the Candyman. Chocolate Charlie is an authorized wholesaler of Hershey's candy. That would be okay.

    Getting the idea?

    Your turn.
     
  7. Elvira7

    Elvira7 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Okay.......here ya go.

    Nike, Adidas, etc. athletic shoes bought online from retailers such as Overstock, Amazon, etc....

    T-Shirts, casual wear, etc....name brand.......bought from same sellers.

    These type of items are sold all the time on ebay, etc.....is there any difference for a brick and mortar store to do so?

    Thanks.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    People get sued all the time from things done on eBay.

    Amazon is an established e-tailer.

    Hmmm, at first blush I see no problems, other than, do this manufacturers require a seller to have an authorization from the manufacturer? But, why wouldn't you buy directly from the manufacturer?

    I know you didn't ask, but your business model seems flawed. A brick and mortar operation is more expensive to operate. How can this be profitable? (It isn't about buying low and selling high.)

    Why would a person buy from you, pay more, and pay sales taxes? I could buy the same thing directly from Amazon myself.
     
  9. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Let's talk about different rights to do different things:

    (1) The First Sale Doctrine applies to products/goods/copyright. If you own the thing you can sell it (provided it is the original, not copies.) If you own Calvin Klein jeans, you should be able to advertise them for sale, even if you bought them from Louie the Lout.

    (2) Whether you actually own stolen goods because you purchased them from Louie the Lout is a completely different issue.

    (3) Whether you actually own authentic goods (fakes) because you purchased them from Louie the Lout is yet another completely different issue.

    I believe that this is the way it works with regard to retail, although I am not a retail clothing expert but have handled issues similar.
     

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