Chinese ecommerce site Shein hit with trademark disputes

The popular Chinese e-commerce platform Shein, whose big data-driven design has jumped to the top of app download charts, faces complaints from apparel brands claiming to infringe on intellectual property.

According to its website, since its founding in 2008, Shein has solidified its position as a global Gen Z staple, selling cheap and trending clothing online.

In May of this year, according to App Annie data, the company reached the top of the app’s download chart for shopping in both Apple and Google stores, but 150 in the latest known funding round in August 2020. It was valued at $ 100 million. To the data from PitchBook.

However, many brands, large and small, say that Shein’s success was helped by “intentional and calculated” trademark infringement.

AirWair International, the maker of the iconic Dr. Martens boots, points to the “Martens boots” listed on the site and more than 20 and states “a clear intention to sell counterfeit products” in court filings. I’m suing Shane for being done. Other styles are sold at a fraction of the cost of genuine Dr. Martens shoes.

In a complaint filed in California, AirWair made Shein and its sister site Romwe not only “make a direct copy” of their unique design, but also “web customers using pictures of real Dr. Martens shoes.” I will guide you to the site and buy a fake. ” Copy the footwear. ”

In follow-up filing, Shein issued a total denial of the claim. Hearings are scheduled for later this year.

Meanwhile, on social media, some Western artists and designers point out that they claim a pattern of intellectual property theft involving smaller brands.

LA-based consumer earring brand Kikay said earlier this month that one of its customers was warned that it was selling designs on Shein.

“They are notorious for their work,” Kikay co-founder Quinn Jones said on Instagram, posting a message to Shein showing the product along with one of the original designs. According to Jones, the post received more than 1,000 comments, some of which came from other small fashion retailers experiencing similar issues.

Like many online retailers, Shane experienced a surge in popularity during the pandemic, leading to speculation that he might try to publish it soon.

A Widely shared analysis Regarding Shein’s business model, co-authored by Chinese technology trends expert Matthew Brennan, SimilarWeb states that Shein is ranked as the most visited fashion site in the world.

Earlier this year it was Between companies It is said that they are competing to buy the British brand Topshop.

Shein’s popularity stems from using data analytics to quickly transform new fashion trends into very cheap products. This is a feat that raises concerns about labor standards, but claims that the company closely monitors its suppliers. ..

Manufactured by a large network of Chinese-based vendors, this product is only sold to other parts of the world and offers delivery to more than 200 countries.

AirWair’s proceedings follow a similar proceeding from 2018, in which Shane was sued by Levi Strauss for copying the jeans company “Arcuate.” This is the stitch pattern commonly found in the back pockets of trademarked Levi’s jeans. The proceedings ended with a private settlement.

“It happens over and over again,” Jones said. “It’s Shane who does due diligence, because they continue to hurt small businesses and people are trying to support them until they stop doing business this way.”

According to Jones, Shane eventually sent a message directly to him, promised to remove the product, apologized for the “inconvenience” and vowed to no longer cooperate with the supplier who made the copied item. ..

In a statement, Shane said he had “deep respect” for artists and designers.

“We take all complaints about intellectual property rights infringement seriously, conduct in-depth investigations into such complaints, and take prompt action against suppliers who violate our intellectual property policy.

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

However, such controversies have become synonymous with fast fashion, said Web Smith, an industry analyst and author of 2PM, a leading e-commerce business newsletter.

“Given their growth, [Shein] You’re probably taking into account that you may run into these problems, “he said.

“As long as they have an audience to do so, they value their time and energy to move the products as quickly as possible, even if some of their products violate the norms of intellectual property. Will determine that there is. “

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