Originally Posted by buzzley
I don't think trademark infringement is exactly what this is, and I don't have any particular feelings toward Bond No. 9 one way or the other, but I do see their point. To me, selling decants of fragrances is like buying an album, recording a song from it, and then selling that song to others. I can't imagine that being considered legal or ethical. Small samples are probably OK (although I think they should be offered free by the manufacturers), and decants given to friends may be OK, but selling substantial decants of commercially sold fragrances seems a bit iffy to me, and making an entire business of it seems pretty shady. To put it another way, if someone were buying Tide detergent, repackaging it in smaller amounts, and reselling it for profit without a licensing agreement, do you think that Procter and Gamble would not be all over them?
Your scenario adds the element of coypright infringement. There's no copying with decants, just repackaging.
Scenarios that match better would be buying an encyclopedia and selling the individual volumes to others, or buying a case of wine and selling the individual bottles to others - or, as you say, selling detergent by the cup.
Or, really, buying and reselling any product. For example, do I need a license when I resell my used books to the used bokstore, or do they, being a business rather than a private person, need a license from the publisher when they turn around and re-resell them?
As far as I know, no, neither of us need such a license, and you don't need a licensing agreement to sell detergent, wine, your own used books, your own used perfume, or other similar products.
I think that the draconian restrictions that are legally supported these days in copyright matters lead people to believe that a corporation with a logo can exercise absolute control over how _any_ product is used. But that's not true - selling a product isn't the equivalent of, for example, copying or displaying or performing a copyrighted work.
A newspaper can forbid you to tack a news story on your front door, because that's a "public display" of their copyrighted work. But a maker of, say, flour, can't forbid you to bake a scone with their product, or forbid you to sell it. They can't even stop you from stating that the scone was made using Pillsbury flour, as long as you don't state it in such a way as to imply that the whole scone was a product of Pillsbury.
To continue the example, as far as I know, when someone opens a Mini-Mart, they don't have to sit down with the lawyers and write thousands of licensing agreements for selling the Pringles and the milk and Hershey bars and every other thing they sell. Nor, I believe, do they have to sign up with some central distributor who handles those license agreements. I'm pretty sure that they just obtain products of acceptable quality and sanitation, and turn around and sell them.
I know that many perfume companies have a pretty tight control over the distribution chain, but I assume that that's enforced by contracts between individual parties - we give you a thousand bottles, you sign a contract that you will not sell the bottles below a specified price and outside a specified territory.
And "authorized retailers" of electronics are, I believe, disciplined by availability of warranty fulfillment, warranty parts, and of course a reliable flow of new product. There are all sorts of contract and service-related ways to control the way that a product is handled, but that's not the same as a law saying that Coke, for example, is entitled to decide the final fate of every last bottle and can and squirt of syrup.
So I'm pretty sure that I can sell my own possessions as I darn well please, without getting the permission of the original manufacturer or trademark holder.