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Sarah Waggoner

How To Sell Trademarked Items on Etsy

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I know it’s frustrating to do a search on Etsy and see all of the trademarked stuff pop up. Sellers with Disney characters or Taylor Swift or college sports teams. So how do you legally sell trademarked items on Etsy? Let’s talk about it.

What are trademarked products?

A trademark is a legal protection granted to brands that can cover their names, logos, etc. Click here to see examples of trademarks from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

You can search the trademark database from the USPTO here and see what categories the products are trademarked in.

For example, in the database, you can see Barbie’s trademark for the doll category here.

But Mattel also holds trademarks for Barbie in a variety of other categories including Toy vehicles, clothing (for humans, not dolls), face masks, jewelry, greeting cards, watches, and more.

Can you sell trademarked items on Etsy?

The only legal way to sell trademarked items on Etsy is to get proper licensing from the trademark holder. This looks different for every trademark holder.

How do you get a license for selling trademarked products?

Getting a trademark license from any brand is usually a difficult process. If you want to profit off their intellectual property, then the brand wants to guarantee you’re representing them well.

You can learn more about licensing from Disney here, for example, but it’s going to be a long and very complicated process that costs tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. You’ll then be required to pay a large percentage of the revenue from each sale.

Getting a trademark license from your local college is a much easier and less expensive task, but there are still a ton of requirements for usage from the graphics and colors you use to reporting sales.

What happens if you sell without a license?

While it can be tempting to make a few trademarked items to sell anyway, there can be some large consequences, and I would recommend you don’t go this route for your Etsy shop.

First, you’re going to be very likely to get kicked off Etsy at some point. While the general consensus is “three strikes” before you get kicked off, this isn’t always the case and if Etsy sees you’re selling a lot of illegal products, they aren’t likely to let you keep selling.

That’s nothing compared to what can happen though. You can get sued by brands who hold the trademarks to the products you’ve profited on.

A quick search on Google News for “Etsy lawsuit trademarked products” will show you Bluey, Bitcoin, Harry Styles, and Disney have all recently Etsy shops in the past for selling products that infringed on their legal trademarks.

Conclusion

It’s not worth it to sell trademarked products on Etsy without a license. Most sellers eventually get caught and the consequences can be devastating.

You’ll want to get a license legally through the brand’s proper channels or sell products that don’t infringe on any intellectual property.

Need help? Click here to get a list of 101 digital products you can sell on Etsy.

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About Author:
portrait of Sarah Waggoner

Sarah Waggoner is a full time Etsy Seller with over $700,000 in sales. She helps handmade and digital sellers get daily sales on Etsy without all the complications.

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