H&M files lawsuit against Shein alleging copyright infringement

Swedish fashion brand H&M has taken legal action against the fast fashion retailer Shein for alleged copyright infringement. As per court documents filed in Hong Kong, the lawsuit alleges that Shein has copied designs from H&M’s collection. Seeking unspecified damages and an injunction, H&M aims to prevent Shein from further infringing on its copyrights and trademarks.

The evidence presented in the filing includes photographs of H&M items, such as swimwear and sweaters, purportedly showing that Shein has copied their designs. A spokesperson for H&M confirmed the ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit against Shein in Hong Kong but refrained from providing further comments.

The legal dispute reportedly began in July 2021 and has been ongoing since then with hearings taking place in June and July of 2022. As for Shein, the fast fashion giant has declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Interestingly, this new lawsuit comes shortly after independent designers accused Shein of racketeering activities related to copyright infringement in a separate RICO lawsuit filed in California federal court on July 11. The artists claimed that Shein used a secretive algorithm to identify trending art and then allegedly reproduced artists’ designs for its fast fashion website.

The plaintiffs in the RICO lawsuit also highlighted Shein’s complex corporate structure, which they believe allows the company to avoid liability in cases of intellectual property infringement. As per the artists’ allegations, Shein’s primary response to copyright or trademark cease and desist claims is to remove the products from its sites, often attributing misconduct to another independent entity within the Shein structure.

In response to the RICO lawsuit, Shein asserted that it takes infringement claims seriously and acts swiftly when valid IP rights holders raise complaints. The company plans to vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit and any claims it deems without merit.

All in all, the legal battles between H&M and Shein underscore the growing concern over copyright infringement and intellectual property issues in the fast fashion industry. The outcomes of these cases could have significant implications for how brands protect their designs and the accountability of fast fashion retailers in the global market.


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