Is there legally anything I can do about someone selling my original items on her website as her own?

UPDATED: Nov 26, 2011

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Is there legally anything I can do about someone selling my original items on her website as her own?

I design, sew and sell clothing and other various clothing items on my website. I recently found out that a customer of mine was selling the items that she purchased from me as her own items. Is there anything legally that I can do?

Asked on November 26, 2011 under Business Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, reselling is legal. The exceptions would be:

1) If you have a trademark, tradename, or service mark which she is violating, such as by passing off your design(s) as her own.

2) If she is trying to show or claim a relationship with you that does not exist.

3) If she is confusing the market about the origin of the products.

Basically, the way the above two work is that if she is someone representing herself, even implicitly, as an authorized or licensed dealer or distributor, you could take action. You could also take action if she is passing herself off as the creator of the objects when she is not--but not if it's clear she is just reselling another person's items. If she is reselling your items as her own, you may have a cause of action, and you should speak with an intellectual property attorney about enforcing your rights.

4) Also, if when you sell the items, the terms of sale included a "no resale" clause, that is enforceable.

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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