Altering and reselling a product - legal?

Advice for those new to the concepts of copyright
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Re: Altering and reselling a product - legal?

Post by Adrh87 »

A slightly different angle on these posts. What happens if I buy a genuine product second hand and in a process of refurbishing it need to remove the original brand logo. Can I put my own branding on the item to resell as long as I state that it is second hand. I’m thinking about a cricket bat that I own, I will need to sand it down which will involve removing stickers and re-oil it to give it a new lease of life. But I don’t really want to leave it completely blank so thought of making up my own logo to put into it. Would I face any legal issues as it may be seen as I am passing off someone else’s product as my own?
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Re: Altering and reselling a product - legal?

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Adrh,

I don't think you face any legal barriers to doing this. Neither trade mark law nor the commonlaw tort of passing off cover this type of occurence, as they are principally concerned with protecting a manufacturer or service provider against others trading on their name and reputation.

There is something known as reverse passing off which is similar to what you describe but differs in that the second party openly uses the product of the first manufacturer and so trades on the goodwill of the first manufacturer. However if the second party then substitutes an inferior third party product instead, this would be reverse passing off. For example, many people will know that the company Overfinch sell modified Land Rover vehicles, which are re-badged 'Overfinch'. Obviously this is done under licence. However if Overfinch started making their own complete vehicles using look alike body parts made in China instead of genuine Range Rovers parts, and continued to let the public think their product was based on a genuine modified Range Rover, that would be reverse passing off.

What you propose is quite different in that you would be removing the name of the manufacturer of the cricket bat altogether, rather than relying on it as a selling point, so this would not amount to reverse passing off.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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