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How to Avoid Being Sued in Dropshipping? (Copyright & Trademark)

We often received comments concerning copyright issues, trademarks, violating other patent searches. These are the common issues dropshippers will face eventually, whether you’ve just started or you have been in this field for a while. Pay attention to this video. In this article, we will go through the common and quite sensitive topic that is selling branded products illegal.

Q1: Can I sell trademarked items?

We all know products with celebrity images or related to trending TV series and movies are hot selling. Are you selling phone case with the Game of Throne or maybe Baby Shark plushies, Pokemon Go toys? These are explosive products once you are listed, but they can also make your business die overnight and even get sued. So the answer is definitely NO. Legally speaking, everyone should respect other’s intellectual property. If you are selling trademarked items without permission is for sure is breaking the law.

The trick question is in the dropshipping field, people mostly purchase products from China. To be fair, China’s copyright law doesn’t apply as seriously as most western countries. And Even if the supplier or manufacturer violates the copyright law of the United States, since the manufacturer is located in China, the law does not apply to them. Does that mean every supplier located in China doesn’t follow the copyright law? No, some suppliers will indeed violate; some others won’t. And suppliers who went to the exhibition showcase always have their own trademarks or copyright permissions.

How can you know your suppliers have the permission to sell trademarked items legally? The advice is to consult with your supplier first for potential violated copyright products. Maybe they do have permission to sell these products. There is no harm to ask. So try to avoid selling products have the potential violating copyright is the key. Building your business foundation in the right category at the beginning stage will help you go further.

Another way to legally sell these copyright featured products is to buy them legally from the licensed, accredited distributor, who got them directly from the copyright holder’s manufacturer. It may sound complicated. But it is perfectly legal to resell them. However, here is another case you are okay to sell. Sometimes you saw products from CJ Dropshipping, and it has a brand logo on the item. You may wonder is that trademarked? Yes, it is trademarked, but cause CJ purchased it from the manufacturer. That means the manufacturer authorized their brand to CJ to sell, so you are fine to resell. By the way, CJ also offers POD service and custom package service, which will help you to build your brand and boost sales. After engraving your brand to products, you are making your unique products.

And selling knockoffs and fakes like LV, Gucci is for sure illegal. But indeed you will decide to sell them or not. For example, you insist on selling it in the USA, and you are not geographically located in the USA and you are not a US citizen. In this case, you will not be held accountable by USA copyright law.

Q2: Will I get in trouble from listing images from the supplier?

The answer is hard to tell. When you are listing products to your store, you don’t know the source really owns these pictures’ copyright or not and the detailed terms of copyright. So if the source doesn’t have the authorization to use product images or videos, then you are screwed. Usually, if you violate other people’s copyright, like icons, images, fonts, and copyright owners decide to take action. Then you will receive a cease and desist, an official document informing you to terminate using these images; otherwise, you will be sued. Or they could directly sue you without warning.

There are two ways to avoid this situation. First, before listing a product to your store, you could place a test order and hire a photographer to reshoot images for your own using propose. Then you could use these images or videos to list products in your store. Testing products always is the main step before selling. Just simply add another extra step to prevent being sued.

The second intervention is to avoid using images that contains the model. Usually, images contain models were easy to detect copyright violations. These images typically shoot by the supplier and look exquisite. However, even 1688 or Aliexpress suppliers were authorized to use it, and your products still got the chance to be banned by Amazon or eBay. Cause these suppliers also approved other dropshippers to use the same images. Frequent use of the same images will be restricted for specific platforms. If you are a Shopify user, it will not be your concern.

Here is a little trick. Before using these images, just Google search by image, then if there are many matches with the showed results, then it means many people are using it, so stop using these images now. Google image search also has a powerful function: you could filter images for free commercial use. Go to your Google image page, at the settings-advanced search. Scroll down to the bottom, and you will find the usage rights and select commercial and other licenses, save you setting. You are good to go.

Be aware of copyright violations of audiovisual materials and trademarked products. Don’t forget to check your shop to see if there are any risks of copyright violation. If you do, hurry up and take action now! 

Facebook Group Discussion

10 hours ago

😱 Are you worried about eBay closing your account? One of the MOST important ways to protect yourself is to hide your IP using a VPN or VPS. Check out Stan’s video to learn how to use VPN correctly to protect your eBay account ... See MoreSee Less

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1 week ago

I thought that CJ stocked the products that are on their website in their warehouses? I seem to be wrong. Do they just buy in from suppliers when we place orders? ... See MoreSee Less

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10 hours ago

Why is it taking POD t-shirts so long to be dispatched? What is going on? I have several orders that are aging. ... See MoreSee Less

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10 hours ago

Hello Everyone

I am trying to add a product to eBay for the first time but it is showing me this error:

It looks like there's a problem with this listing.
To maintain a safe trading environment, eBay places limits on the number of categories sellers can list. Currently, you do not have required permission to sell in this category. If you wish to sell in this category, please create a business plan and write to

Can anyone please help?
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10 hours ago

I would to import reviews into my store but I haven't seen a product with a review yet. Is it common that reviews are posted for products? ... See MoreSee Less

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