Castro Valley, CA asked in Business Law, International Law, Internet Law and Trademark for California

Q: would it be legal to someone else' s products on my website and have my site name similar to the product name?

I am planning to make my own website to sell someone else's products, but would it be legal to have the site name similar to the product name? For instance, the product name is Kate, but my site name will be Kate-u.s.a.

I won't use the same logo and font, as well.

I live in CA

Please answer me back


1 Lawyer Answer
Julie King
Julie King
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The answer is it depends. If the person who owns the product and product name claims trademark rights to the product name and your name is substantially likely to cause confusion in consumers' minds as to who produced the product, then you would be infringing on the other person's trademark rights. For example, if you sold shoes with a "swoosh" similar to Nike's, but not EXACTLY the same as Nike's, the legal question would be whether the person who buys your shoes is likely to think they actually manufactured by Nike. If it is likely that people would think it is a Nike product, then you would be infringing on Nike's rights.

The other question is whether you are authorized to sell the other person's products in the first place. In some instances, you don't need a license to sell someone else's products. For example, selling property you own at a garage sale is perfectly fine. But, in other instances, you would be violating the law by selling someone else's property. For example, if you took a movie and intentionally changed a few things to try to make it your own, then sold it as something new. I generally say it is like borrowing someone else's bike, putting a ribbon on the handle bars, then selling the bike AS IF it was your own. I hope this helps!

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