Can I use licensed character fabric to creat tangible items to sell?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I use licensed character fabric to creat tangible items to sell?

I buy fabric from joanns and some are Disney characters. Am I able to use the fabric to make, say a jacket, and sell that jacket?

Asked on January 8, 2017 under Business Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot. While you could resell the fabric "as is" (so long as there was no sales, etc. agreement you signed or agreed to in purchasing the fabric, which agreement bars resale--if there was, it is enforceable against you) but you cannot use the fabric to create new products. Trademark law gives the trademark holder the sole right to use that trademark for commercial purposes (subject to the exception for as is resale); copyright law (and these characters would be copyrighted as well) gives the copyright holder the sole right to create "derivative" or "adapted" works--that is, new or modified products--using the copyright material. Between the two, you cannot use the character fabric to make and sell new products.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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