I bought some products to sell on Amazon. I was selling one of these products and got a cease and desist letter from a company asking me to stop selling their product. I have since removed that product. The letter also demands that I tell them the name and info of the person/company I bought the products from, as well as how much I am holding in my inventory. Am I obligated to disclose that information?
There are quite a few things to consider when you receive a cease and desist letter, first and foremost you should consult with a local attorney competent in the field at issue. Is it involving intellectual property such as patents, trademarks or copyrights? If so, make sure to reach out to an attorney that is knowledgeable in that area of law.
Often times an attorney can help you assess the merits of the letter, the demand and potentially save you time and heartache worrying about an impending lawsuit.
Thanks for reading! Note, this is not legal advice, it is simply some of my thoughts regarding the question posed. There is no attorney-client relationship. I am not your attorney and you are not my client.
You are not obligated to provide them with any information. That said, the company could file a lawsuit against you, and then you will be obligated to provide them with the information during the discovery phase of the lawsuit. Because of this, it can be helpful to make a full disclosure to the other party at this point. But this is not always the right move, it depends on the specific facts of your situation. You should not take any further action without assistance from an attorney. Also, you should not post any more information in a public forum like this one. This type of communication is not private, is not subject to attorney client privilege, and can be obtained by your adversary during a lawsuit.
I recommend that you hire an attorney to assist you.
Receiving and cease and desist does not guarantee that you were in the wrong. The complaining party may be in error or they may be intentionally harassing you. In order to determine the veracity of the claim, you need the assistance of local IP counsel. Once this is determined, that same counsel should make the response to the other party, if any response is to be made at all.
Many IP attorneys offer free initial consultations. Use these to find one you are comfortable working with, and then heed the advice. given.
There is no law I am aware of that OBLIGATES anyone to take ANY action in response to a private cease and desist letter. HOWEVER, the ramifications of not doing so and, consequently, whether you should or not, depends upon the facts involved and the presumption that, if you don't, you may be sued. You really need to consult a lawyer in private and have them review the letter and the facts involved and advise you accordingly. It may be that you could have substantial liability, that you can continue selling without fear, or something in between. Only through a detailed analysis of all the facts can the best course(s) of action be determined. Act quickly and good luck!
This information is intended to be general and educational in nature. It is not intended to be specific legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship. I require a signed retainer agreement from a potential client to establish an attorney-client relationship and before I will provide specific legal representation.
No, you are not required to provide any information in response to a Cease and Desist Letter. However, if a response is not sent, there is a very real risk that you may be sued. I strongly suggest that you retain an experienced Intellectual Property attorney to review the Cease and desist letter and prepare an appropriate response, as well as advising you on potential settlement of the claim. It is likely that the information requested will need to ultimately be provided in order to settle the matter in dispute.
For more detailed advice, I recommend that you contact an experienced Copyright/IP Infringement attorney to advise you in confidence about your options and potential costs. Many IP specialty firms, like ours, offer an initial free conference by telephone, video conference or in person if you are available locally and would be happy to speak with you. Call and speak with an experienced Copyright/IP Infringement attorney who can assist you.
Mr. Sack's postings on Avvo are of a general nature, based on the facts provided and are not intended to be taken as legal advice or to establish an attorney-client relationship.
Your situation is not clear. Is this other entity claiming you were selling knock-off product or were they just insisting that you have no authority to sell their product even though it is legitimate?
Anytime you receive a legal letter like this you need to consult a lawyer. You are not obligated to say or give any info to a private party and suggest you say nothing before getting some specific advice.
You are free to resell any lawfully purchased item and you are not required to purchase from an authorized source, but doing so ensures the best chances that you are dealing in legit product. If the products turn out to be counterfeit you are responsible for that unless you have a written indemnification from the seller, which case depending may be worthless. Further, if what you have amounts to a grey-market good because it is "materially different" from what your target market would otherwise expect, this is also a form of trademark infringement, An example of this would be some electronics you purchase on close-out that are all Apple brand legit but made for the Russian market and therefore have different components and no warranty. This of course is not what your US market would expect to buy and is materially different enough to cause a legal issue.
Further, if you are using third-party platforms to distribute your products such as Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, etc. know that many brand owners abuse the system and seek to mitigate unauthorized channels by claiming infringement even when no such trademark infringement exists. These platforms have no choice but to respond which usually means that your listing are shut down, sometimes your accounts are closed and really with no recourse regards to the platform as you operate on them on their terms not yours. While you may have a legal action against the complaining party many small operators will never pursue such a claim because of the expense and effort involved, which these large players are well aware.
Lastly, you should never assume you can use the copyright protected images of the manufacturer to promote the sale of their products. You need a license for that or just create your own.
You are likely to have a number of legal questions moving forward, so I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your best course of action in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.
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