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A case in strict products liability is available in all states against the manufacturer of a defective product. A “manufacturer” is often defined as one who designs, produces, sells or otherwise distributes the product. Suppose, however, a company’s logo is on a product that has been manufactured by someone else. Is the non-manufacturer responsible to a plaintiff and if so, under what theory? The answer depends upon the state in which you sue. Some jurisdictions hold a non-manufacturer liable as an “apparent manufacturer” if it has merely licensed its trademark. Other states require that the licensor have a “significant role” in the chain of distribution, and some states are hybrid, eg, they permit liability against trademark licensors but require more than just licensing the trademark. The following examples illustrate the way some states analyze this liability.

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