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Ed Turner
Ed Turner,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1910
Experience:  Director and Consultant Solicitor (Self-Employed) at Ed Turner LLB Limited
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Customer: Its regarding a business (selling online)
Good afternoon thank you for contacting Just Answer my name is***** am a solicitor and I will be assisting you today. Can you clarify your question so that I can best advise you?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
The question is:
Is it legal to buy a clothing item from a well-known brand, modify it (slightly or a lot) and then sell it with your own labels and branding?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I will be selling in the UK and USA so would like to know if its legal in both these countries

Thank you for the confirmation, regrettably this is outside the scope of my expertise therefore I will opt out to allow another expert to pick this up.

Hello.   I am Ed, a Solicitor qualified in England & Wales with over a decade’s experience in the legal profession advising clients.

I specialise in Commercial Contracts, Business Transactions, Employment, Dispute Resolution, Personal Injury and Road Traffic Law and shall be reviewing your legal problem today.

Regarding the site’s automatic offer of a Premium Service Phone Call, I shall be delighted to talk with you by phone to discuss your issue in greater detail if you accept the offer.

However, if you do not want a phone call, please cancel the offer for a Premium Service Phone Call and you will not be charged extra.

You should investigate your competitors’ designs and images carefully to check whether they are protected by UK or International Trademarks, Design Rights, Patents and Creative Commons Licences.   The creators’ own websites should assert what special IPRs protect their works and you can also search the following websites:

UK Intellectual Property Office: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/intellectual-property-office

World Intellectual Property Organisation: https://www.wipo.int/portal/en/index.html

EU Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/

I am concerned that you risk an action for IPR Infringement, or if the designs and artwork are not protected, your competitor may sue you under the Tort of “Passing Off” as the two websites and products are sufficiently similar to create confusion in the minds of the public to the extent that you are exploiting the other business’s goodwill in a way that could injure it.

Damages for IPR Infringement are account of profits to the claimant for monies obtained through use of the work.

There is a six-year limitation period for a Claimant to issue Court Proceedings for IPR Infringement from the date that the infringement was first discovered by the Claimant or first ought to have been discovered.   IPR Infringement is a “continuing tort” and a claimant’s cause of action in law against the defendant is refreshed each day that the tort continues.   Therefore, a claimant may issue court proceedings, but damages can only be recovered for that part of the loss which arose within the six-year period prior to the commencement of proceedings.

You should seek legal advice as soon as possible after you are aware that you have breach other party's legal rights.   I suggest that you instruct specialist IPR Solicitors to review this matter in full, advise you on your prospects of success and defend any IPR Court Proceedings on your behalf.

I hope this resolves your enquiry.   Please revert to me if you require any clarification of my answer to your question and I shall be delighted to assist.

Kind regards

LawyerEd

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thanks for the answer. The items of clothing are being modified so they're still sufficiently different, can the competitor sue me for 'passing off' even though its been modified? I haven't yet started selling the items but thought it was okay because reselling is legal so I thought this would be too?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Also could I ask a related question. When labelling items of clothing (care labels), I know its helpful for customers if you write down where the item was made e.g. Made in China. If the fabric that I use comes from another country, but I sew and put together the final product here in the UK, can I legally write 'Made in the UK' on the care label?

Yes, that should be ok.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Just to confirm everything: I shouldn't face any problems if I've modified the product and sell it as my own (with own branding) as long as their design isn't protected. And I can legally write 'Made in the UK' if I make the finished product here but the fabric is sourced elsewhere?

Correct.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
That's great, thanks so much for clearing everything up. Finally, are these laws the same in the USA/other countries so I could sell there as well?

The IPR laws in the USA are similar, but I recommend that you instruct a lawyer qualified in that jurisdiction to advise with certainty.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** any solicitors on JustAnswer qualified in USA law that I can be referred to?

Yes, please start a new enquiry thread and categorise it as US Law and Trademarks, Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights.

Ed Turner,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1910
Experience: Director and Consultant Solicitor (Self-Employed) at Ed Turner LLB Limited
Ed Turner and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Excellent, thanks a lot for the help. I'll leave a 5* rating.

Thank you for the positive rating.

I am delighted that I have resolved your enquiry.

I wish you all the very best in resolving this matter and of course for safely navigating the current “choppy waters” in which we all find ourselves. :)

Kind regards

LawyerEd