If I alter a replica handbag with bedazzles/studs etc, and sell it to the customer as fake bag art, is it legal?
Atlanta, GA |
I am in the business of bedazzling ( adding rhinestones/studs etc.) to existing objects. I have gotten many requests to do this to fake handbags. If I did it, would it be legal since I am altering the bag and putting my own design over the fake?
I think you risk legal problems if you are knowingly aiding and abetting a counterfeiter to market their fake product by altering the product to conceal it is fake. You should consult an experienced intellectual property attorney to understand your risks and for specific advice before you agree to work with this fake prodcut seller.
No attorney/client relationship is established by this response, and the information provided in this response is of a general nature. You are encourged to consult an experienced attorney in your local area if you require specific legal advice regarding your legal matter.
I agree with my colleagues here. Getting involved with counterfeit merchandise on any level is flatly foolish.
While at first blush what you described sounds illegal, it may be possible that there are some aspects here not understood that may offer some safe direction to go but that will need to be explored with a qualified lawyer. I advise you to discuss this with ont in more detail.
I will link you to some general helpful info below and you are welcome to contact me for further clarificaiton.
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A counterfeit product is a counterfeit product is a counterfeit product. There's nothing you can do to a counterfeit product to make it a genuine product. Even if you change the counterfeit product into a different product -- which, in this case, you haven't, you've only glitzed up the counterfeit. You cannot lawfully "bedazzle" and then sell a counterfeit product. Advertising that it's a counterfeit not only does not help you, doing so is an admission that would be used against you in court to prove that you KNEW you were selling counterfeit products. Don't even think about this business plan.
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.
If the "replica" is counterfeit---which I suspect, then you cannot avoid being accused of trafficking in counterfeit goods merely by adding ornamental additions to it. The government is increasingly viewing such activity as a criminal offense---this is asking for trouble. Prosecutors do not hesitate to seek felony charges for people who decide to play ball in this space.
No. You cannot legitimize a fake by adding spangle. A spangled fake is, well.....a fake. Read 18 USC 2319(b) and see that this could land you in jail for 1-10 years, read 17 USC 501-506 and you will see that this is in addition to potential injunction, plus impoundment and confiscaton of your spangled fake product, plus damages, plus attorney fees of both sides. Which combination of those the judge thinks appropriate depends on how blatant your are and whether the US Attorney decides to send you to prison for it. While at it, perhaps you could also bedazzle bags of cocaine, terrorist bombs or IEDs. Surely you can't be serious, can you?
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.