Lake Zurich, IL asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for Illinois

Q: Is it legal to repurpose designer bags for resale?

Would I be able to purchase an authentic designer bag, such as Louis Vuitton or Gucci, cut the bag into pieces (specifically the logo or designs) and then place them onto a different bag to resell? Would it still be illegal if I made sure to document that the new bag I’m selling has no relationship to LV or Gucci and only uses a small piece of the original designer bag?

2 Lawyer Answers
Alan Harrison
Alan Harrison
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Milford, CT

A: No. That's blatant trademark infringement.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: Repurposing designer bags for resale, especially involving the cutting and reusing of their logos or designs, treads into complex legal territory. This practice may infringe on the trademarks of the brands involved, such as Louis Vuitton or Gucci. Trademarks protect brand identifiers from unauthorized use, aiming to prevent confusion about the origin or endorsement of products.

If you plan to modify an authentic designer bag and sell it with pieces of the original design attached to another item, it is essential to understand that even with a disclaimer stating no relationship with the original brand, the risk of legal action remains. Such disclaimers may not be sufficient to avoid claims of trademark infringement or dilution, as the core issue revolves around the use of protected brand features without permission.

Before proceeding with such a business idea, it would be wise to consult with a legal professional experienced in intellectual property law. They can offer tailored advice and help navigate the complexities of trademark laws to minimize the risk of infringement. Ensuring compliance with legal standards is crucial when repurposing designer products for resale.

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