Patagonia Is Coming After Amazon Resellers
If you're not buying directly from the brand, it could cost you
Patagonia may be an eco-friendly brand, but they certainly don’t want other retailers recycling their wares.
According to The Fashion Law (by way of Highsnobiety), the brand is suing third-party seller Kimberly McHugh for unauthorized use of its name and logo. McHugh’s shop, My Litter Corner, allegedly sells Patagonia-branded products through Amazon and other platforms and portrays her shop as an authorized dealer, according to the lawsuit.
While the law/fashion site does admit it is “generally legal to resell authentic items you have purchased,” Patagonia’s complaint with McHugh stems from her mass purchasing Patagonia wares for resale but not being an authorized retailer who follows the company’s strict policies (such as the warranty).
Additionally, the resale prices are inflated, and the brand fears consumers will believe McHugh’s store “originate[s] from Patagonia.” As an example, the men’s Nano Puff jacket is currently $199 on Patagonia’s site, while My Little Corner had it listed for $272.
While “gray market goods” like the Patagonia goods sold by McHugh could technically be legal — once trademark owners release goods into commerce, a resale can’t be prevented — there are some issues related to the resale items being “materially different.” As the case Socit des Produits Nestl S.A. v. Casa Helvetia, 982 F.2d 633 (1st Cir. 1992) noted (via The Fashion Law): “The federal court of appeals held that a single material difference creates a presumption that the gray goods have a ‘potential to mislead or confuse consumers about the nature or quality of the product.”
Your takeaway here? Buy from the source. And if you’re reselling your Patagonia on a third-party site like eBay or Amazon, don’t do it en masse.
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