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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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