Do you have a business idea that involves selling replicas on Shopify? Perhaps you want to sell luxury handbags, or maybe you are an art lover and are wondering which types of art prints you can sell. If either of these scenarios applies to you, or you have another idea for selling replicas in general, you’ll want to know if it’s possible. Moreso, what are the ends and outs of selling these items legally on Shopify? Let’s dive in and find out.
So, can you sell replicas on Shopify? You may be able to sell replicas on Shopify, so long as you are not selling counterfeit products that are protected under intellectual property law or breach any copyright or trademarks. If you do decide to sell replicas, it’s essential you know the laws and legislations pertaining to what you want to sell.
The first thing I need to say here is that I’m not an attorney, and I’m not offering legal advice.
I encourage you to do extensive research if you’re planning to sell replicas via a Shopify e-commerce store, and I suggest you speak to an attorney so you can be sure you’re staying within the boundaries of the law.
Otherwise, be sure to keep reading, and I’ll help you work out if you can proceed!
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Shopify Policies Related To Selling Replicas
Shopify’s terms are very clear on this issue, and they go into great detail in the help pages about how to avoid violating trademark, copyright, and intellectual property laws.
The company even clearly tells people how to report Shopify stores that are selling counterfeit goods.
Shopify has an Acceptable Use Policy that specifically mentions that you can’t infringe on the trademark and copyrights of others, and the company prohibits the selling of counterfeit goods.
The Difference Between Counterfeit, Knockoffs, and Replicas
To legally and safely sell replicas on Shopify, it helps to understand the differences between counterfeit goods, knockoffs, and replicas.
You can’t legally sell items that infringe on someone’s trademark or copyright.
For example, let’s say you found some wireless earbuds that look just like Apple AirPods.
These earbuds come in a small square white box, just like Apple’s box.
The box isn’t the problem. The problem is that the box also has the Apple logo and says “Apple AirPods.”
In the AirPods example, this item is clearly a counterfeit product, and it breaks the law in more than one way.
First of all, these fake AirPods infringe on a company’s trademark and copyright.
Going up against Apple’s legal team is surely not much fun.
Secondly, this product deceives the public, and selling counterfeit goods is illegal.
Besides breaking the law, selling counterfeit items is against Shopify’s terms, and if someone reports you, it won’t be long before Shopify shuts you down.
Knockoffs closely resemble another item, but they aren’t identical.
You can find knockoffs at nearly every store you visit, whether brick-and-mortar stores or e-commerce stores.
However, these knockoffs never make claims to be the actual branded product. If a knockoff is too similar to a branded product, you can be challenged in a court of law.
A replica is a close copy and bears a striking resemblance to the original item, but it’s clear to anyone buying the goods that they aren’t genuine.
An example of this would be a leather handbag that’s in the shape of a Gucci bag.
However, the replica item has markings that are distinctively different from the logos and trademarks on Gucci bags.
When selling legitimate copies of items, the seller notes that the Gucci bags aren’t associated with the brand.
In the best scenario, this distinction is even noted on the seller’s website and in their marketing materials.
You may see language such as “not associated with the Gucci brand.”
Examples of Replicas You Can Sell On Shopify
Below, I list some of the items you can safely sell on Shopify.
Consider this scenario: A celebrity wears a snazzy blue dress that makes everyone want one.
Unfortunately, the dress is from an haute couture designer, and the average person can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars for the dress.
You can design (or buy) a dress that’s very similar but doesn’t have the designer’s branding on it.
Similar to the example with clothing, you can sell shoes that are similar to the branded item.
For example, no one owns the color red, so if you want to sell women’s shoes with red bottoms, you can legally do so as long as you don’t claim that your shoes are Christian Louboutin’s Red Bottom shoes.
Toys are one of the most commonly sold replica items.
You can’t sell Barbie dolls, but you can sell similar dolls as long as they don’t look exactly like Barbie or have Barbie branding.
More than almost any other product, handbags are replicated and sold all over the world.
This is completely legal as long as you’re not copying one of the brands that sell designer handbags, and it’s important to say that your product is a replica and isn’t associated with the brand.
For almost every product Apple and similar companies make, there is a knockoff product.
You can buy cheap brands of tablets and earbuds, and you can re-sell these items.
Just don’t slap an Apple log or the Apple name on them.
Examples of Replicas You Can’t Sell On Shopify
You can’t sell counterfeit merchandise that looks so much like a branded product that a customer can’t tell the difference.
For example, it’s illegal to sell handbags with a logo that is identical to a Gucci or Coach handbag.
While this law applies to the producer or manufacturer of the counterfeit item, it also applies to the people who buy and sell the fake products because they can use counterfeit goods to deceive other people.
How To Sell Replicas Legally on Shopify
To legally sell replicas on Shopify, you need to be very clear in your product listings and on your legal pages that your items are replicas.
Tips and Suggestions When Selling Replicas on Shopify
Following these suggestions and tips will help you be sure that you’re operating your business within the law, and you won’t have to worry about Shopify shutting down your store.
Understand Copyright and Trademark Principles
While many countries allow you to make copies of items in the public domain, you can’t legally reproduce copies that are protected by copyright laws.
Follow The Law
You have to comply with the laws of every country in which you sell your items.
Closely Check Your Product(s) For Copyright
Don’t use logos, brand names, or trademarks belonging to other brands.
It’s important to check your products carefully to make sure that nothing on the packaging or in the documentation implies that your company is associated with another company.
Even if your products closely resemble branded products, never use the brand’s logos or names.
Don’t Be Deceptive
Be clear in your marketing that your products are replicas.
In every product listing, I recommend saying that the item is a replica and is not associated with another brand.
You can also put this information in your FAQs and legal pages.
So by now, you likely know if your business idea is good to go or not.
If you want to get started, then the best way to do so is via a free Shopify trial.
Otherwise, if you are not quite sure whether you want to sell is legally, you have two remaining options:
- Keep researching to see if it’s viable
- Forgo the product and look for something else.
Just ensure whatever you do, be sure you comply with the law.
Other related guides you may want to read:
- How Many Products Should I Start With Shopify? [The Research Says This]
- Can I Resell Products On Shopify? [All You Have To Know]
- How Many Products Can You Have On Shopify? [It Can’t Be So]
- Can I Use Shopify To Sell My Own Products?
Hey, I’m Jeremy; a seasoned entrepreneur that has been earning his full time income online since 2005. My online business portfolio includes eCommerce stores and affiliate marketing niche sites. I also make money through Blockchain and Crypto. I created Unrivaled Review to share my knowledge, experience and recommendations for anyone looking to pursue such ventures.