Reselling another manufacturers product?

Can I legally take a product produced by someone else, alter it and resell it under a new name?

The reason I ask is that a group I belong to has an idea for upgrading certain electronic products to add functionality currently unavailable. We know fairly well how to alter the off-the-shelf product, but do not have the expertise to produce one from scratch.

So can I purchase, lets say a clock-radio for arguments sake, add a coffee pot to the side and resell it?

If this has to do with GPS and traffic in North American cities… you have been beaten to the punch :slight_smile:

You can, if you enter into an OEM agreement with the clock-radio manufacturer. Of course, they’ll want a cut of your action when you sell the coffee pot.

IANAL, but I do play an engineer who does this kind of stuff for a living.

So it’s not legal if I do not have an OEM agreement? This seems counterintuitive although I admit that doesn’t mean anything, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked the question :smack:

So I can’t buy a bunch of Sony monitors and incorporate them into my new fancy all in one video game console for example?

Is it typical to get a discount in such cases?

Because if it’s crap, you’ll do damage to the Sony name, and they don’t want that. They spend a lot of time and money making a product that supports their brand identity and they don’t want you to ruin all that by producing a piece of crap that makes them look bad.

Also, they may have deals in the works to produce a similar product and don’t want one out there with the Sony name on it. Or they think that type of product (something that can assist copying DVDs for example) is the kind of thing they want associated with Sony.

This is very similar to a question I’ve been wanting to ask. In my case, the product is very simple and small and contains no identifying marks at all.

For the sake of an example, say I want to buy Jones brand nails and repackage them and market them as DirectHit brand nails without any notice to the manufacturer. In this case, the product is patented by the manufacturer, but I won’t be infringing on the patent (all the items I sell would be bought from the manufacturer at wholesale).

I can’t see any direct cause for action, but this is new territory for me.

There are a lot of small engineering firms who make a good business doing work for people like you. I occasionally do that sort of work on the side myself, though not so much recently. It’s not uncommon for someone to walk in and basically say here, attach this (drops clock radio on the desk) to this (drops coffee pot beside it). The engineering firm then goes off and designs something exactly like that. You don’t need the expertise yourself. Just “outsource” your engineering.

Most newbie inventor folks have no idea of the engineering costs involved. People are surprised to find that to produce the first prototype “clock pot radio” costs them a good $50k. Sure, then you can build them for $8 each in china, but there’s a lot of design, prototyping, and setup costs involved up front.

By the time you add in marketing costs, overhead costs, shipping costs, and the bizillion other costs that go into running a business, you’ll find that you probably couldn’t afford to buy the Sony clock radio and attach it to Mr Coffee anyway. It would cost too much to produce it that way.

It’s also possible (sometimes) to buy the circuit boards out of the Sony clock from Sony and the coffee pot parts from the Mr Coffee folks, then integrate them together in your own plastic shell with your own private name on them. You’ve still got the engineering and setup costs for the plastic shell, and you still have the manufacturing costs of final assembly, but sometimes you can make a decent profit this way. Things that are expensive and produced in low volume are sometimes built this way.

There’s no law prohibiting you from taking, for example, a Sorny clock-radio and adding your own coffee pot to it, then reselling it as a Magnetbox coffee clock.

However, you could not have the Sorny logo or any of their other trademarks on the product, nor could you sell it as the ‘Magnetbox-Sorny coffee clock’. That would be illegally diluting the Sorny trademark.

Similarly, Sorny would no longer be responsible for any defects in their clock-radio, because you would have modified it in a way not in accordance with their usage guidelines. You would have to assume product liability and warranty responsibility.

On preview, I see engineer_comp_geek has pointed out many of the problems with this scenario much better than I could.

Thanks acaos, that’s what I was looking for in a nutshell.