Are there any legal steps that I have to take on buying, customizing, and re-selling grip tape? 6 Answers as of January 29, 2014

I recently started to work with stencils to paint custom artwork on skateboard grip tape. I had not sold any yet because I didn't want to run into legal issues, though several people have already requested some. I realize if the grip tape is completely blank on both sides (including the sticky cover which is thrown away) it becomes less of a problem to re-sell because there is no label whatsoever on it. What I was wondering was if someone could describe what I can and cannot do while redistributing the grip tape.

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Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
So long as you are buying the grip tape and not stealing it, then you can custom paint it and sell it provided that you are not painting immoral things on the tape and there is a possibility that the people buying it think yu are associated with the grip tape company.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 1/29/2014
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Generally buying the grip tape is not a problem.. The purchasing of an item generally grants you the right to modify the product as you like. The purchase generally pays for all intellectual property associated with the production and sale of the product. When you customize the product you may be infringing upon licensed marks. as an example, if you print the name of a sports team or a registered trademark you may not have rights to the mark. Creating your own unique artwork will generally ensure that you are not copying licensed or registered work. Generally you can print your own artwork, you can't print artwork that "can be confused" with other artwork, images, names, logos, etc... without authorization from the owner.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/24/2014
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
Once you purchase grip tape from a manufacturer you are free to modify and resell it. This remains true as long as your modifications are your own creations and not copies of someone else.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 1/23/2014
Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 1/24/2014
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
If you're buying the tape legally, you can do what you want with it. However, if you intend to turn this stenciling into a business, you'll want to buy the tape in bulk from the manufacturer which resolves any issue of what you can do with the tape. Or you can just sell the stencils and let your customers install the tape themselves.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 1/23/2014
    Barton Barton & Plotkin
    Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
    Your primary problem arises under trademark law. You are taking grip tape made under a brand name for use on skateboards, modifying it with your own designs, and then reselling it. The problem is, that you either are impermissibly confusing the public into believing that the trademark owner has approved or endorsed your designs on the grip tape, or alternatively, you are engaging in "reverse passing off" (i.e., suggesting that you made the grip tape and selling it under your brand name as artist/designer). One way or the other, this constitutes trademark infringement. Thus, you need a license form the manufacturer of the grip tape before you can legally sell this product. Further, grip tape could be subject to federal and state regulatory requirements it is possible that your designs could be deemed to undermine in some what the safe and effective use of the grip tape. Thus, you need to retain legal counsel to (a) obtain the licenses you need from the manufacturer, and (b) analyze whether your changes on the grip tape could violate regulatory requirements at the federal and state level. Without retaining legal counsel to pursue the permissions and regulatory clearances that you need, this is a dangerous undertaking.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/22/2014
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