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  • Intellectual Property Issues

    When sourcing from China one should be mindful that certain products, designs etc. are patented. Has anyone here had patent issues when private labeling a product from China? Did you end up modifying it or just not selling it altogether? Recommendations on IP lawyers in the States or places to do your due diligence at?

    EDIT: This is even more likely an issue when you're sourcing best-selling products and re-hashing successful sales funnels and it's products.
    Last edited by dmitri; 05-02-2016, 09:56 AM.

  • #2
    I was involved in that esscociate patent suit against the affiliate network model as a whole... that Clickbooth defeated.. Thank you Clickbooth.

    I haven't done Chinese products with potential patents yet though. We've licensed products from product owners that already had patents in place.

    As far as good legal I'd email my friend Elisa at K&L Gates, elisa.damico@klgates.com

    if you're looking for a budget atty they're not. But they're in 37 countries and can advise on patent infringement Int'l I'm sure.
    Jason Akatiff, CEO - A4D Performance | Follow Me on Twitter | Read my Blog
    >> A4D - CPA Network, 8 years in business, never missed a payment. Sign Up Here! | NEW Skype: live:jasona_33 <<<

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    • #3
      Thank you for that contact! I guess the cheaper option for people would be to try and identify first if there is a patent via patents.google.com etc., if nothing comes up go ahead with it and once you're starting to do volume double-check with an expert and then possibly get licensed with the patent owner OR change your product to comply OR just push it (without stockpiling the product) til you get a C.A.D. lol.. (disclaimer: no legal advice provided)

      Found this to be a pretty good source to start http://patents.stackexchange.com/que...s-for-our-idea
      Last edited by dmitri; 05-03-2016, 04:00 AM.

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      • #4
        get licensed with the patent owner OR change your product to comply OR just push it (without stockpiling the product) til you get a C.A.D. lol.. (disclaimer: no legal advice provided)
        It's worth figuring out up front if you are serious about your business. The C&D letter after you have found a winner and put the time and money into growing it is worse than the upfront effort. My 2 cents.
        Ideas are everywhere, it's execution that's in short supply.

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        • #5
          You could always leverage the brand following you've created and just modify whatever details are patented once you get the C&D afaik so I wouldn't say it was a completely worthless venture but yea, I get what you mean. I suppose the safest and most sure route to take is to go with private label items and if needed, possibly later on, modify them.. just make sure quality is good.

          The alternative would be to identify the features, designs that are patented and change them accordingly. I guess its a good approach once you're established or have a big budget but for most people just getting their weet fet with eCommerce this is way over their heads.. as it's far from easy to definitely determine whether an applicable patent exists (there are no requirements that a public record be kept). Secondly commercial product names are rarely mentioned within the patent applications, thus even if there is a patent registered, searching the patent database based on name/manufacturer/seller/etc. won't necessarily get you anywhere. Which means you have to hire a professional to conduct a thorough patent search.. and even then patent applications take 18 months til they're published in the States so you might be missing an unpublished application and end up getting a C&D nonetheless.

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          • #6
            Definitely an important issue that many people don't consider until it's brought to their attention.

            You could always leverage the brand following you've created and just modify whatever details are patented once you get the C&D
            Or try to work out the licensing agreement at that point.

            No need to lose sleep over it or stop anyone from building their product business. Being aware that it's something to watch out for and determining your own risk tolerance are great places to start. A little due diligence up front can go a long way. If you are sourcing an item, look around in the market and see who else is selling it and start there.

            Check the websites listed above, consult an atty. Doing something is better than nothing and being able to prove you did some due diligence can help down the road as well .

            Also, if you have business insurance and you are concerned, ask if patent liability coverage is included or available. They can help defend against claims and give you guidance. (Disclaimer: I'm not an Attorney, this is not legal advice, talk with one for legal advice.)
            Ideas are everywhere, it's execution that's in short supply.

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            • #7
              Thank you for your response! Yeah, I agree - a little due diligence certainly won't harm anyone. I'm gonna try and get a meeting with an IP lawyer this week or the next.
              Theory is theory but I wish to know how often these types of claims happen and what are the common practices.

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              • #8
                Can you provide a good licensing agreement example for me to see? Thanks!

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                • #9
                  What would be the legal implications of drop shipping a product that is being sold on aliexpress if it is infringing someones patent?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nailsit View Post
                    What would be the legal implications of drop shipping a product that is being sold on aliexpress if it is infringing someones patent?
                    That's not sold under your brand? Probably extremely minimal. You're just the retailer in that case. I'm not an attorney though.

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                    • #11
                      So we just got a C&D letter (cease and desist) this morning, regarding one of our products sourced from china - the claimant is a US firm, which claims their product is patented and we are infringing. I did a quick Google and it seems they do have some patents and have sued competitors in the past... best is to just drop it?

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                      • #12
                        I would. Unless you think they are wrong and it's an important part of your business, it's probably not worth fighting. If they have sued others, even if you successfully fight it, by the time you spend the time, energy and money to do it, it still feels like a loss. (that's been my experience)
                        Couldn't hurt to call an Atty to talk through it and maybe figure out if you can buy some time to sell down inventory or whatever.
                        Ideas are everywhere, it's execution that's in short supply.

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                        • #13
                          OK, thanks, Eric
                          What about just pivoting to other countries, if it's just a US Patent, technically, it has no jurisdiction overseas, right?

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                          • #14
                            Ha, I was thinking the same thing after I hit reply, I don't know. Maybe someone else will jump in here.
                            Ideas are everywhere, it's execution that's in short supply.

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                            • #15
                              tried someone then? Does it really work?

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