Is This Legal

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Is This Legal

Post by jonazax1717 »

Hi Copyright Aid Forum, hope you are all well, I am wondering if you can help me with this question.

I currently run a small cricket company based in the UK, where I sell cricket equipment, designed by myself. However, I have had the idea that I want to expand into the cricket shoe market and needed your advice if this would be an issue, before proceeding. Cricket Shoes are slightly different as they require sturdy spikes at the bottom. My question is if I take a trainer e.g "Adidas trainer" which has no spikes, add spikes, maybe allow customization of name, number, and color, would this infringe on anything?
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Re: Is This Legal

Post by AndyJ »

Hi jonaza1717,

It is worth saying from the outset that there are no copyright implications in what you suggest.

However there are several other intellectual property rights (IPR) which would probably be impinged by doing what you suggest, without first getting permission from the shoe maker (eg Adidas in your example).

The first would be registered design right. Although the situation will be similar for all manufacturers, taking your example of Adidas, they have registered quite a lot of their shoe designs, which means that selling something which was noticeably similar or identical to their design would amount to infringement. Technically it sounds as if you would be using a real trainer and modifying it, rather than manufacturing a complete shoe, but I think that design right would still be engaged. The second area of IPR is trade mark law. Assuming that even after customization the shoes still bear the Adidas branding (eg the three stripes, if not that actual name) then you would run into issues over selling modified products which were not entirely made by Adidas. And even if you were not technically infringing trade mark law there could well be a secondary cause of action called passing off, if it could be shown that the buying public were misled into thinking your golf shoes were authorised Adidas products. And if as a result of the modifications you make, the warranty provided by Adidas was nullified, then customers would have a right to redress under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, and Adidas would have grounds to sue you if you were advertising the shoes as Adidas golf shoes. Indeed creative lawyers acting for Adidas or another manufacturer could probably dream up a number of other grounds to sue, such as unjust enrichment, fraud by false representation etc. In addition you could fall foul of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and the Consumer Protection Act 1987 both of which are enforced by Trading Standards.

So to summarise, yes, you would be heading into a legal minefield if you tried to do this without first getting permission from the various shoe manufacturers. At the very least, you would be foolish to go ahead without getting proper legal advice on the detail of what you would like to do.
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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