Shein accused of IP infringement

Fast fashion retailer, Shein, has exploded to dominate fashion ecommerce in the past couple of years. If you search for a clothing product on Google, 9 times out of 10 you are going to be presented by a search advert for Shein.

Last month, the Chinese company knocked Amazon off the number one spot as the most downloaded shopping app in the US. Their aggressive marketing practices, impossibly low prices and glossy image have captured the attention of bargain loving consumers the world over and let us face it, who doesn’t love a bargain.

Since Shein’s launch in 2007, is has been dogged by allegations of trademark and intellectual property infringement. More recently though, both large fashion retailers and small independent brands have started to fight back against what it calls Shein’s “deliberate and calculated” trademark infringement.

The FT reports that AirWair International, manufacturer of the iconic Dr.Martens boots, is taking Shein to court for “a clear intent to sell counterfeits”. They stand accused of not only making direct copies of its signature designs, but also using similar names and in some cases the original designers images with Dr Martens claiming that Shein used “photographs of genuine Dr Martens footwear to entice customers to its website to buy fake copy footwear”.

According to the Financial Times, independent earring brand Kikay was alerted to its designs being sold on Shein earlier this month, an issue its co-founder Quinn Jones said Shein was “infamous for”.

After posting the alleged infringement on Instagram, the post received thousands of comments, many of which were from independent fashion brands complaining of similar cases. “It happens again and again,” Jones told the Financial Times.

“It’s on Shein to do the due diligence, because until they stop running their business this way, they’re just continually hurting small businesses, people trying to support themselves.”

In response to the allegations, Shein said: “We take every complaint on intellectual property right infringements seriously, conduct in-depth investigations on such complaints, and take swift actions on suppliers who violate our intellectual property policies.

“We also continue to invest in and improve our product review process to spot and prevent infringements.”

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