Asked in Trademark for Maryland

Q: How to legally sell and advertise trademarked items?

I am opening a designer gift wrapping business, where people have their gifts professionally wrapped. I would like to use licensed, real products like Harry Potter gift wrapping etc.

1. Does a store need a special agreement or license to sell trademarked goods?

2. Is it a trademark violation to sell a "Harry Potter themed gift wrapping package" that uses licensed products? I would be selling the service of wrapping the gift using authentic items.

3. Can the "Harry Potter" themed package be advertised? Or is that is an unauthorized use of the name?

4. If items 2 & 3 are violations, can I sell a "Wizarding" theme gift wrapping package that makes no mention of Harry Potter, but includes genuine licensed Harry Potter items. In this case, aren't I just reselling licensed items.

5. What about using items that create trademarked designs, such as an authentic Harry Potter wax seal to leave a wax emblem on the gifts. Or using a licensed Harry Potter stencil to draw images?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Bill Hulsey
Bill Hulsey
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Austin, TX

A: This series of questions requires substantial counseling and a legal opinion. Great questions, but not the kind of questions whose answers will be posted on the Internet.

Happy to address these in a more formal and reliable setting.

Marcos Garciaacosta and Barbara Berschler agree with this answer

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: J. K. Rowling is known to be very protective of her copyright and other intellectual property rights associated with her Harry Potter creation. Best to explore each element of your business concept with a trademark/copyright attorney before investing in the enterprise.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Mesa, AZ

A: You have lots of good ideas.

Some may be risky, other not.

You should have an attorney by your side as you develop your plan.

In general you can buy and sell trademarked products as long as you are not violating their terms of sale.

In some cases you do not buy a product, but get a license to use the product, so the full product is never yours.

I would expect the makers of HP themed products would want you to buy them and sell them.

How much you can go beyond that may depend on your plans and their limitations.

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