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Cam I buy plain jeans from Walmart and embellish and redesign them so that they may be sold under my trademark

Crane Hill, AL |

Adding zippers, buttons, ribbons, lace cutouts, and etc.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Yes, as long as these jeans are generic and there's nothing on them that makes them still identifiable as Walmart's jeans. The essence of trademark infringement is consumer confusion, and you have to be careful not to confuse any consumers about who makes your jeans.

See a TM lawyer to get your own trademark registered, and to make sure you steer clear of anyone else's TM rights.

Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.

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Posted

Yes, as long as these jeans are generic and there's nothing on them that makes them still identifiable as Walmart's jeans. The essence of trademark infringement is consumer confusion, and you have to be careful not to confuse any consumers about who makes your jeans.

See a TM lawyer to get your own trademark registered, and to make sure you steer clear of anyone else's TM rights.

Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.

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Posted

The above answer(s) are correct. The thing is, very few things are actually sold "generic" without any designation of source at all. So if there are tags inside that say anything, then they aren't exactly "generic."

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Posted

I am not as confident as my colleagues that you can do this. If the jeans are truly plain, with a design that is not recognized as being associated with any particular manufactuer or designer, if there is no unique stitching on the jeans or pockes, and if there is no name tag or other logo identifying the manufacturer or designer of the jeans, then you may be able to proceed without infringing someone else's trademarks or other IP rights. But if there is even a modest danger that consumers could be confused as to the origin of the jeans, and could believe that your embellished and redesigned products are associated with or endorsed by their original manufactuer, then you could have a problem. If you are going into a commercial business, I would play it safe and obtain permission from the manufacturer in advance of using these jeans for this purpose. It probably will not cost a lot of money to obtain a license to use these jeans for this purose, and you will have peace of mind that you will not get sued if you carry on this business. Law suits are expensive and I always think it is a good idea for people who go into business to take steps to minimize exposure to suit.

You should know that there are currently insurance policies available in the market that protect companies from potential liability for copyright or trademark infringement. These insurance policies are surprisingly affordable, and they are becoming increasingly popular. They may add a few cents to the cost of making each pair of jeans that you sell, but the small additional cost may be a great investment in the event that you are sued by a competitor.

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Posted

There's not much more to add other than there are a bazillion manufacturers in the apparel industry that make and sell wholesale, unbranded clothes that are then "private labeled" either by the manufacturer or by the retail buyer. Buy unbranded clothes wholesale, not retail, and then "embellish and redesign" them to your heart's content. But when you do, be smart and speak with a trademark attorney about how to brand your products. Good luck.

The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.

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