I am looking to sell a product in the US, which I am purchasing from China. The product is a backpack, being sold by many different companies here. Am I legally able to sell this backpack? If someone has a patent on the backpack, is it illegal to sell the same item? No one has a patent on it as far as I could find. If I change the item slightly, does it then become a new item? I will only have my company logo on the product.
You might have problems. Not only do you need to be positive there are no patents, but you need ot be concerned about trademark and copyright infringement. Best to meet with an experienced intellectual property attorney to review what you want to sell and do the proper searches. It is not something that can be answered on this forum.
Peace be with you, and may love guide you.
A "right to use" search requires sophisticated patent searching experience. It is also very helpful to know how to connect to the appropriate patent examiner who may be able to provide some assistance. Many different parts of the backpack need to be considered. The statistical likelihood is that you do not know if someone has a relevant backpack patent.
Other important considerations include what kind of insurance you may need in case the quality of the backpack is not what you hoped for and someone gets injured.
If you do not have experience in this area, it may not be prudent to go it alone.
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If there is a patent on the product in the U.S., which is in force, and you don't have the patent owner's permission, then you would be infringing by importing and selling this patented product into the U.S.
You should discuss with an intellectual property attorney in a private consultation.
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As my colleagues note, there's a possibility that someone owns a currently-in-force patent that claims the design of the backpack or a particular functional element of the backpack. You can view some of those design and utility patents via the links below. As also noted, you should have your own California-licensed intellectual property attorney provide you with a "freedome to operate" opinion before importing the backpacks. Good luck.
The above response 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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