Monday, August 2, 2010

Wippees or Wipees? Something Smells Funkee

Dear Rich: After reading your online advice and answering questions from crafters, I thought I was in the clear with something I've made...but now I'm wondering if I'm in violation of some law, rule or provision. Okay. I've taken something (let's just say for this particular example) that it's kid's anti-bacterial wippees...it isn't but crafters read your blog and they ever see this, I can't give my idea away (see how paranoid us crafters can be!?! ha) Anyway, I've placed a "little toy" at the bottom of the box and have written a story that is is attached to the box. It's professionally packaged and the story ties in brilliantly with the "wippees" and encourages the little ones to use the anti-bacterial wipes in order to empty the bottle and get a the toy. (There are rules in the "Note to Parents" saying they can't waste the wippees and they can't have the toy until the wippees are all gone.) I have copyrighted the story so I know I'm protected there. However, on my craft, I have left the brand name on the front where it was originally placed and below it is I have placed a label of my own that ties in with the product and the story. So, it would look something like this: Soft & Fresh (fictitious brand name) "Little Wippee's Surprise". Since I'm using the brand name box, leaving their label affixed, can I get into any trouble for making such a craft. I mean, we're allowed to place a wrap around a Hershey bar without any legal consequences, completely covering up the Hershey name, and on my crafts, I'm sharing their name and making it a part of my craft. I suppose I could make them from scratch (in a sense) by buying OFF BRAND wippees, removing them from their container, putting them in another type of container that costs me a dollar down at the local Dollar Tree, add my label and I'd have no one to answer to, and just sell them that way. But I feel like their name brand label above mine, makes my craft more attractive, tried and true. I'll bet this sounds like I want my cake and eat it too, huh? I guess I look at it as they win with my cute story enhancement and I win with their popular brand name. We're going to assume you mean "wipees." Spoiler Alert!! -- they're for wiping a baby. (On an FYI level, the Dear Rich Staff has a problem with colloquialisms that use the "ee" sound like hottie or veggie (or veggie hotties!!).)
Right, you had a question. We think your question is, "Can I re-sell a brand name product if I open it and repackage it with additional material?"  Reselling Hershey Bars wrapped in ribbons is fine because you're not opening the Hersheys Bar. Every trademark owner has an obligation to ensure the quality and the consistency of the product and they can't do that if you're tampering with the goods. You're not likely to run into a problem selling a basket composed of your storybook and some unopened wipees as long as you avoid making people think that the famous brand endorses or is partnering with you.