Fast Fashion Giant SHEIN Allegedly Steals Designs

SHEIN, a fast fashion retailer founded in China in 2008, recently fell into a copyright infringement dispute over alleged design theft, the Wall Street Journal reported on July 3.

SHEIN, or its Hong Kong-based parent company Zoetop Business Co., were made defendants in at least 50 lawsuits for alleged trademark or copyright infringement in the United States over the past three years – almost 10 times as many as its main competitor, H&M.

Court records show that the plaintiffs are a mix of niche designers who work from home and retail giants, including a subsidiary of Ralph Lauren and sunglasses maker Oakley Inc. In many cases, SHEIN has settled with plaintiffs, often for undisclosed amounts. In some cases, complaints say, SHEIN blamed third-party suppliers when responding to concerns about counterfeit versions of their work.

In a statement, a SHEIN spokesperson said: “We have no intention of infringing on anyone’s valid intellectual property rights, nor is it our business model to do so. SHEIN suppliers are required to comply with company policy and certify that their products do not infringe on third-party intellectual property rights. We will continue to invest in and improve our product review process.”

In May 2021, data from App Annie and Sensor Tower showed that SHEIN had replaced Amazon as the shopping app with the highest number of downloads on iOS and Android platforms in the US.

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The firm has completed seven rounds of financing since 2013. In April 2022, SHEIN was reported to have raised a $1 billion round of financing, valuing it at $100 billion. Also, there have been talks of SHEIN carrying out an IPO.