Copyright Infringement - How Far Is Too Far?

Sean_Lenihan
New Member
1 0 0

I'm aware that obviously it is bad business to dropship trademarked goods, but my question is to what extent does that trademark apply?

Take, for instance, this shirt on Ali Express:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Latest-Fortnite-T-shirt-homme-Straight-Outta-Tilted-Towers-t-shirts-...

Tilted Towers is an in-game location in the video game Fortnite, and since Fortnite is a copyrighted property does this copyright also apply to all things associated with the game, and therefore make this shirt an illegal item to sell? Or since Fortnite isn't explicably mentioned does that mean you can get away with selling this without an legal issues?

Another example would be this:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Gildan-Retro-Gamer-Men-s-T-Shirts-Gaming-Admin-Pc-Funny-T-Shirt-3d-P...

Since this design encorporates an old controller trademarked by Nintendo, does that mean that this item is illegal to sell? Please excuse my ignorance as I'm just getting started with dropshipping and just want to make sure I don't mess things up with my first store. Thanks :)

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Don
Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff
1212 71 154

Hi there Sean!

Don here from Shopify!

While we are not qualified to comment on legal queries here there is some good advice in this Oberlo blog article about the consequences of selling counterfeited goods in your store.

We've also got great resources ourselves like The Legal Guide to Ecommerce from our blog and our Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping from our guides site.

In the end, you will need to contact a qualified legal professional if you need legal advice though it is always better to be safe than sorry and source reseller authorisation or other business docs to prove that the supplier in question has licence to sell whatever intellectual properties they have in their store.

If you have any non-legal queries about using Shopify you can find us via our support site anytime. :)

All the best!

Regards,
Don

Don | Social Care @ Shopify 
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Hi Sean,

Your best bet is to hire an IP solicitor to investigate this for you. I think a lot of games and apps have trademarks that extend beyond the game name. Their terms and service can also reserve exclusive rights to in-game content. Again, you just have to consult with a legal professional on these matters.

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