Can I resell another company's product?
4 attorney answers
It largely depends on how you present it. Given the recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, you can; however, taking it out of the original packaging could be seen as somewhat illegal. However, if there are no identifying features on the product then its open to debate.
Your best bet is to consult with an intellectual property attorney that has experience similar matters. This attorney will have a good understanding of the complexities of your matter and probably provide a legal consultation and analysis of your situation. This communication does not constitute legal advice, and is for informational purposes only.
I agree with Attorney Reiss. You need to make sure you do not infringe in the way you present the product, but as you already know , we see this come up often with gift bags, aid kits, etc. The other concept you need to be aware of is called "reverse passing off." This is when you take someone's product and put your own label on it as if to present to the public that you are the source of that product when in fact you are not.
I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives 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.
Technically, under first sale doctrine, anything you buy, you can sell. However, you need to be careful that you are not advertising off the good will of the soapdish maker's trademarks or making it look like they endorse your product. Furthermore, the act of repackaging can be seen as going beyond the first sale doctrine. See the attached article for a summary of some of the issues.
I agree with the legal analysis offered by the other attorneys who have already answered.
But from a purely practical perspective I would suggest that you contact the maker of the soap dish you want to resell and see if they'll agree to allow you use it in your gift sets and baskets. In the consumer products company I co-founded before I started my law practice we would frequently sell our products to other companies to use in promotions or other special packs--and would buy products from other companies to do the same with our products. Unless they make their own soaps that compete with yours (in which case I'd question whether you'd want to use the dish in the first place) they'd probably be happy to have another channel of distribution and might even offer you a discounted price on their product without any packaging.
All answers are for general purpose only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship.