I'm not claiming they are original products
I assume you mean the flags have NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB team names and/or logos? If so, the question is whether they are authorized products. The major sports league and team names and logos are all trademarks, so the teams/leagues have the right to control their use, particularly on products.
If they are authorized, it probably is okay to import them back into the U.S., although you might get into issues of "gray market" goods. If they are unauthorized, their importation and sale would be trademark infringement and you are pretty much guaranteed to have big problems.
Where you buy the flags is irrelevant and not subject to control.
If the flags contain a US registered trademark, such as those of professional sport organizations, then you will need a license from each one of the TM owners to import the goods, otherwise US customs will seize them and fine you.
USPTO Registered Patent Attorney, Master of Intellectual Property law, MBA I am neither your attorney, nor my answers or comments in AVVO.com create an attorney-client relationship with you. You may accept or disregard my free advice in AVVO.com at your own risk. I am a Patent Attorney, admitted to the USPTO and to the Florida Bar.
I hope you can open the link below. I think this should somewhat answer your question. You probably should consult with your own attorney before doing so because I think you would most likely hear from the lawyers for the various sports leagues, if not from U.S. Customs or prosecutors.
If you must have these items, I would suggest you keep them for your own personal use assuming you could even get them in this country.
Alex Butterman is a trademark attorney with Staas& Halsey LLP (http://www.staasandhalsey.com), a Washington, D.C. IP boutique law firm. Alex is admitted to the bars of Washington, D.C., New York and New Jersey but, unless otherwise specified, the answer is intended to be general enough to apply to any U.S. state and based primarily upon his knowledge and experience with applicable federal laws. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of his firm, Avvo or other attorneys. This answer is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. No attoreny-client relationship or obligations are established herein, although consulting an attorney to discuss your specific situation is strongly recommended. This is especially true of trademark law and probably any area of intellectual property law because TM law is so fact-specific and full of esoteric nuances and exceptions, that more often than not there does seem to be harm in handling a trademark matter without consulting an experienced trademark attorney.
No, you cannot legally sell Chinese knock-off goods. This is one of the areas that federal prosecutors enforce the most.
Just so you know, the owners of these trademarks are as agressive and smart as they come. They have alomost certainly registered their trademarks with ICE ("customs") so that any unauthorized products bearing protected marks will be siezed. You may find yourself in the position of having paid for goods siezed at customs with a worthless claim for a refund against a Chinese illegal manufacturer.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
Not unless these flags are products authorized by these sports leagues. And before you import and sell such products, you have an absolute legal duty to assure that the products are authentic licensed merchandise. If it turns out that the flags are not authorized to use these logos or to suggest an association with these leagues, you can be held liable for trading in illegal counterfeit goods---which can lead to both civil and criminal penalties.
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