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Modifying and reselling a product

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:18 am
by Timothy
Hi forum, I have a problem and I wondered if anyone here might have some wisdom/ advice.

I want to buy a product from China, modify it, and sell it on.

Is this allowed please? My conscience tells me I should probably say exactly what I have done, and make clear I am not the original maker.

But is it legal, please does any one know?

(For more information, the product is a bag and I want to add a new panel to it for storage of items),

Thank you for reading this... Any advice would be appreciated.

Re: Modifying and reselling a product

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:04 am
by AndyJ
Hi Timothy,

There are unlikely to be any intellectual property implications in doing this. The appearance of the bag will not be subject to copyright, and it is unlikely to be a registered design. A patent applying to the function of the bag is also highly unlikely. That just leaves trade marks. If the bag features any sort of branding or logo of the maker then it is possible that modifying the bag and selling it with the same logo still attached could amount to passing off. However since the bag would, fundamentally, still be the manufacturer's own product, I don't think of a claim of this sort would succeed.

You are probably aware that many importers alter Chinese-made products to incorporate their own branding for their respective domestic markets, although this is generally done as part of a purchase agreement with the Chinese manufacturer/supplier. If you intend to do this at scale, it might be advantageous to set up such a deal and try and get a discount on the wholesale price you pay.

A separate issue, which is outside the scope of these forums, concerns consumer rights. By modifying the product you may damage the structure of the bag in a way which causes it to fail prematurely. This in turn would result in the buyer receiving faulty goods and they would have a theoretical claim against the manufacturer under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and/or a claim against you as the trader under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Since your modifications would invalidate the warranty, the manufacturer would be absolved of liability even if the failure was not specifically attributable to your modification. This is slightly academic since in both instances the buyer would contact you for a replacement or refund and you would have to stand the loss.

Re: Modifying and reselling a product

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:35 pm
by Timothy
Hi AndyJ, thank you,

It appears very easy to order the bags and apparently not so easy to speak to someone.

So I thought I might just go ahead and order (I know I’m covered by Paypal if things go wrong etc).

But I’ve come to the conclusion I wont to this now without speaking to them, just in case they mind. Or think about a non-permanent, reversible way to modify the bags.

Thank you again for your advice sir