What should I do regarding a threatened lawsuit?

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What should I do regarding a threatened lawsuit?

I have been selling sunglasses that I purchased off of Chinese wholesale site for about 4 months on Ebay. This week I got a letter in the mail from somebody called Arctic Brand Assurance that says they are representing the sunglass company and that they know I sold 520 pairs of their glasses and if I want to avoid a lawsuit I need to pay $8000 and send them all of my glasses and tell them where i bought them. Can they really sue me? I bought the product online I did not make them. What should I do?

Asked on April 19, 2014 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, it sounds as if they are asserting a claim against you for copyright or trademark infringement, such as for selling counterfeit or knock-off products. Note that it does not matter whether you made the products if they are infringing someone else's copyright or trademark--there is no legal right to sell infringing products, even if made by another.

You might ask them for more information, such as what exactly they assert you did wrong; can they prove copyright or trademark; you should also double check on your own that this is a legitimate company (e.g. do they have a web presence? Can you order sunglasses from them? etc.) and not an attempt to scam you.

As you get more information, if looks like they are seeking to pursue a potentially valid claim against you, such as for copyright or trademark infringement, you may wish to seek if you can't work out a mutually agreeable settlement (e.g. turn over your remaining merchandise and tell them where you got them; pay a small amount of money).


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