Selling Second Hand Character Toys

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Selling Second Hand Character Toys

Post by onickz »

Not sure if this is the right thread, but I really need some advice on this - I am setting up a website selling secondhand toys, some of which are Disney characters, Marvel etc. Is it ok to sell these online, and is it ok to use the Disney characters' names and Marvel names such as Spiderman in the title and description because I know that Disney and Marvel own the trademarks and copyright to these items and their names?

I feel it is impossible to sell a secondhand Disney doll called Elsa out of frozen without saying it is an Elsa doll or selling a Spiderman figure without calling it Spiderman etc.

Any help would be appreciated with this !
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi onickz
What you are proposing shouldn't cause any problems, provided that you make sure that the toys are genuine Disney etc products. The thing which protects you is the so-called doctrine of exhaustion of rights. Put simply, this means that an owner of a product (like a book, CD, DVD etc) which has been produced under copyright may sell or give away or destroy their property without the rightsowner having any claim over the transaction.
Although toys would not normally be subject to copyright protection, as you have identified, trade mark protection is the main issue here. However as long as you are dealing in genuine products then there can be no deception or confusion as to the real origin of the goods. You can use the names and trade marks of the various dolls etc because a) you are applying it to the genuine product, and b) because in any case you would be uising the names descriptively. As you say, how else can you describe an Elsa doll other than by using its name.
I hope this re-assures you.
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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