Legal Question in Business Law in Massachusetts

Iím interested in starting a business where I sell modified Havaianas sandals. Havaianas is a Brazilian brand of sandals that is sold worldwide. I will be creating a website where customers can choose a sandal that they want and then choose from a variety of modifications they want to make to the sandal. I will then have the Havaianas sandals purchased and modified in Brazil and then shipped to me in the U.S. I will ship them directly to the customer.

My question is this. Do I need permission from Havaianas in order to run this business? Or can I do this without permission? If I can run this business without permission, what do I need to do in order to protect myself from possible litigation? Is it okay to make it clear on the website that Iím not a licensed seller for Havaianas? Or would I have to do more?

Asked on 11/06/13, 11:52 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

James Thomas Kinder Law Office of James Thomas Kinder

Good Morning, and thank you for your question.

There are too many issues at play here to thoroughly explore in an online forum. However, I would initially pose the following:

If you intend to ask for MORE money for the items simply because they carry the particular brand name, then you could be getting yourself into illegal territory. The problem is that you would be advertising sales of items WITH the brand name. Some companies require specific licensing and permission to resell their brand-name products - regardless of whether or not you have modified or upcycled them. The problem gets worse if people are buying because of a specific brand-name, because that company is promoting their products having a particular level of quality which your modified version may not have. Your buyers may end up going to the company to try to get recourse, which of course they won't be able to do because the products were not purchased from them - because they are considered unauthorized "knock-offs".

I suggest that you contact a business attorney to discuss the best solution to this potential problem with your marketing concept. I wish you the best of luck.

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Answered on 12/05/13, 6:21 am

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