Japanese casual wear brand Uniqlo has initiated legal proceedings against Chinese fast fashion retailer Shein, accusing the company of copying its round mini shoulder bag.
The lawsuit was filed in the Tokyo District Court against Roadget Business, Fashion Choice and Shein Japan. Roadget and Fashion Choice are affiliated entities within the Shein group of companies.
Uniqlo alleges that Shein’s products infringe on its intellectual property rights under Japan’s Unfair Competition Prevention Act.
Shein’s bags “closely resemble” the nylon round mini-shoulder bags owned by Uniqlo. Uniqlo also alleges that this resemblance could reduce customer confidence levels in its brand and its products.
Uniqlo’s nylon round mini cross-body bag has been trending online and has reportedly become the brand’s best-selling bag ever. Videos of the item, which costs £14.90 in the UK, have generated millions of “Likes”.
In its lawsuit, Uniqlo demands an immediate halt to the sales of the alleged imitation products and seeks compensation for damages it incurred.
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Uniqlo, which is operated by Fast Retailing, operates a global network of 2,491 stores across 26 markets, delivering high-quality casual wear under the LifeWear concept.
Fast Retailing said in a statement that it “respects the intellectual property rights of its corporate group and other companies in its business activities”.
It also added that “Fast Retailing takes a resolute stance against any act that infringes on its intellectual property and will take appropriate measures in response, including legal action.”
This is the second lawsuit faced by Shein in the last two months.
In December 2023, discount e-commerce platform Temu filed a lawsuit against the company for using illegal practices to interfere with its business in the US.