Q: Is it copyright infringement if the logo itself is not altered or modified?
If i go to Starbucks and purchase a reusable cup, am I legally allowed to go home, personalize it with a name or decoration and resell it? I’ve read several things, such as the “first sale doctrine”, and that leads me to believe that this is legal as long as I am not reproducing the logo or modifying it in anyway. The logo remains fully visible and intact, the personalization is placed on the blank parts of the cup.
A: When you buy the cup, you own the cup, but you do not own the copyright rights associated with the logo. Your additions could be considered as creating a derivative work without the copyright owner's permission. Also, you would be infringing upon the trademark, and, since Starbucks mark is a famous mark, you could also be found liable for diluting the value of the mark.
A: The first sale doctrine applies to the resale of genuine trademarked products, not products that have been changed from those products sold by the original trademark owner. Since the sale of the cup would cause confusion to the source of the goods, then the sale may constitute trademark infringement.
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