"Hive Home" lock their hardware devices to specific accounts. If you move into a house with Hive products already connected to a previous user:

you’ll need to buy a new Hive Hub. source

And what they don't say is: you have to throw away the old one. The old one is completely useless, and tied to previous person's account. It's like Apple saying once you tie a MacBook to an Apple ID, you can't disconnect it and cannot sell it to anyone.

Is it legal for a company to restrict people from re-selling (second hand) items - they call this "transferring ownership"? Both their app, and their human customer service representatives have told me I cannot transfer ownership or rename the account - as this is the same as transferring ownership.

1 Answer 1


This is not prohibiting the resale. You can resell your old box, but you can not transfer your account, and since the box can't take a new account, it is not a useful item to anyone but the original account holder.

It is not illegal to make a resale effectively impossible, but you can not ban it under the First Sale Doctrine and [Patent] Exhaustion Doctrine.

Accounts are in this case not sold items but subscriptions and don't fall under First Sale but instead are running contracts - and can be regulated as the contracting parties put into the contract. This contract can ban the transfer (for money or free) of the contract.

  • 1
    The first sale doctrine in the US is essentially a copyright right. For a physical item the relevant IP framework would be patent exhaustion. And the simple right of alienation in property rights. Commented Jan 29, 2022 at 19:45
  • @GeorgeWhite Patent Exhaustion and First Sale seem to at times blend into one another at times, but good catch!
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 16:37
  • @GeorgeWhite The FirstSale doctine in ther US goes beyone copyright issues. For example it bans things like teh old UK "net conditions of sale" in which the publisher forbade resale in an altered cover. It bans an attempt to prohibit resale at an altered price, or in general to control the conditions of or prevent a resale. Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 17:13
  • @DavidSiegel yes, but in this case the resale isn't forbidden. it's just made valueless for such but as a spare part source.
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 17:36
  • @Trish I understand that, and i agree with the answer that the seller may decline to alter the account associated with the hardware in such a case. I was responding only to George White's comment that first sale "is essentially a copyright right." Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 17:42

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