Changing Design to Avoid Infringement

Posted by Michael Shimokaji | Apr 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

Questions: Can I alter existing product and label and market it as my own brand?

I searched and couldn't find anything relating to this.

There is a product on the market, I found a company in China that makes a product that looks very much like the name-brand, if not identical. I want purchase the product from the Chinese manufacturer, and alter it by changing a key, functional piece, as well as adding another part to the product, and then label/package/sell it as my own.

General example: Chinese Oakley replicas, same general frame design, but different non-Oakley lenses, remove Oakley logo and replace with my own, as well as add something like a built in video camera, or neck strap, or some other add-on.

Would this be blatantly illegal?

Answer: This may or may not be legal.

Changing a Chinese made product for sale in the US may run afoul of US patents – either utility or design. For example, Oakley may have utility and/or design patents. These patents may cover your altered product design, especially if you are taking a knock off product from China and reselling in the US. 

About the Author

Michael Shimokaji

Michael’s expertise includes the strategic development of patent and trademark portfolios. He identifies those patents and trademarks that are valuable to his clients by providing them with a competitive advantage. Then, Michael obtains patent and trademark registrations in the US and abroad.


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