Licensed product and dealing with Disney

September 16th, 2019 by Arlette Mendenhall

Probably one of the most difficult to deal with, Disney has very limited need for anyone else helping them sell their products. Most inquiries result in thanks but no thanks.

Copyright and trademark laws state that you CANNOT make Disney items without a license. So any items made from say Disney fabric is not allowed. You also may not take a Disney product and create something else using that product.

Although many of Disney’s own characters are not licensed, you still can not use them in the same form that Disney has used them. For example, you can use a “similar” version of Snow White, but you CANNOT use an exact duplication, meaning if she is wearing a red dress instead of a blue and white dress you may not get in trouble. Don’t call your characters by the same names either, chances are the names are copyrighted.

First sale doctrine

There is always some fine print involved with licensed products, and that fine print is the first sale doctrine.

What this doctrine states is that if you purchase a licensed product, you have every legal right to re-sell THAT  product, without anyone’s permission. You may sell it in a storefront, flea market, eBay where ever. You may not, however, alter that product in any way.

What you can not do is call yourself a Disney store or do anything that implies you are an authorized Disney dealer.

You also want to be sure that where you purchase your products are licensed dealers and not bootlegged knockoffs. Illegally produced products will land you in hot water and the proud recipient of a cease and desist letter from Disney’s legal department.

Keep your ideas to yourself

If you have ideas that you think would make good products, don’t share the idea with Disney. They do not guarantee that they will keep your information confidential and you could see your idea on the shelves of someone else’s store, making money for them and not you.

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