Is it against the law to buy a product, repackage it with my company’s brand/product name and then sell it online and/or in stores?

UPDATED: Mar 1, 2012

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Is it against the law to buy a product, repackage it with my company’s brand/product name and then sell it online and/or in stores?

I would like to buy a bulk of products from a company, repackage the product using a different container with my company’s brand and product name, and then resell it on my company’s website as well as in stores. The product will not be changed in any way. Does this violate any laws?

Asked on March 1, 2012 under Business Law, Indiana


Kenneth Avila / Kenneth Avila, Patent Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Like many of the questions posted here by individuals such as yourself there is just not enough information to come to a conclusion.  I will present you with some guidance so that you will understand some of the legal issues being raised here.  However I would strongly recommend that you sit down with an “Intellectual Property” attorney and disclose in detail your plans.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure they say and that applies here.  Making the wrong decisions may impact your relationship with your supplier and your customers and cause harm to your business.

The area of law raise here is Trademarks.  Many people think of logos that identify a company when considering trademarks.  However that is just one a small part of the laws regarding trademarks.  The Aspen outline on Intellectual Property describes trademarks as follows:  “Trademarks permit consumers to identify the source of goods or services. The purpose of trademark law is to ensure that consumers are able to rely on marks in exercising their purchasing preferences by prohibiting competitors from using marks in a way that confuses consumers about the source, sponsorship, or affiliation of goods or services.”.  Here you are presenting to the consumer a product as if you were the source product because you are repackaging the product with your company’s brand and product name.  A consumer purchasing the product would not realize that the source of the product was your supplier and not you.  

Another area of law raised here is Patents.  A patent owner is granted by the Federal government the exclusive right to prevent others from infringing on the patent.  A patent may be infringed by even selling a patent protected product without its owner permission.

There may be other areas of law raise by facts that you have not included here.  In general I would recommend that not resell your supplier’s products in your own packaging unless you have obtained their written consent to do so.  Speak with an Intellectual Property Attorney.  They will be able to help you in drafting the agreement so that your rights are protected and your business will not be harmed by this practice.

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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