Can a manufacturer legally copy a designer fashion product without copying the original logo?

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Can a manufacturer legally copy a designer fashion product without copying the original logo?

The product looks identical except for the logos. Are there copyright or trademark issues with copying fashion products without copying original logos and instead affixing our own logo? Can we use pictures of the original designer fashion product on our website to compare to pictures of our own product with our own logo?

Asked on March 15, 2012 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, you almost certainly cannot do this:

1) It is possible that some element of the design, other than the logo, is itself trademarked or copyrighted.

2) Copying a designer's fashion product, if there is any intent or even tendency to confuse consumers (so that they may think your product is the designer's, or is otherwise licensed by/associated with the design) would be unfair competion, such as under the Lanham Act.

3) If there are any trademarks in any part of the product, you could not even use it for  your commercial advantage, such as by showing it on your website and comparing to your own product.


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