Asked and Answered: A successful business is built on relationships between you and your suppliers and you and your buyers. Cutting corners can cause you to lose these relationships or get you into legal trouble.
Question: Is it against the law to buy a product, repackage it with my company's brand/product name and then sell it online and/or in stores?
Facts: I would like to buy in bulk products from a company, repackage the product using a different container with my company's brand and product name, and then resell it on my company's website as well as in stores. The product will not be changed in any way. Does this violate any laws?
Answered: Like many of the questions posted here by individuals such as yourself there is just not enough information to come to a conclusion. I will present you with some guidance so that you will understand some of the legal issues being raised here. However I would strongly recommend that you sit down with an “Intellectual Property” attorney and disclose in detail your plans. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure they say and that applies here. Making the wrong decisions may impact your relationship with your supplier and your customers and cause harm to your business.
One area of law raise here is Trademarks. Many people think of logos that identify a company when considering trademarks. However that is just one a small part of the laws regarding trademarks. The Aspen outline on Intellectual Property describes trademarks as follows: “Trademarks permit consumers to identify the source of goods or services. The purpose of trademark law is to ensure that consumers are able to rely on marks in exercising their purchasing preferences by prohibiting competitors from using marks in a way that confuses consumers about the source, sponsorship, or affiliation of goods or services.”. Here you are presenting to the consumer a product as if you were the source product because you are repackaging the product with your company’s brand and product name. A consumer purchasing the product would not realize that the source of the product was your supplier and not you.
Another area of law raised here is Patents. A patent owner is granted by the Federal government the exclusive right to prevent others from infringing on the patent. A patent may be infringed by even selling a patent protected product without its owner permission.
There may be other areas of law raise by facts that you have not included here. In general I would recommend that not resell your supplier’s products in your own packaging unless you have obtained their written consent to do so. Speak with an Intellectual Property Attorney. They will be able to help you in drafting the agreement so that your rights are protected and your business will not be harmed by this practice.