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Uniqlo is suing Shein for allegedly copying its viral bag

Uniqlo is suing Shein for allegedly copying its viral bag

(CNN) — Japanese brand Uniqlo has sued Shein over allegations that the Chinese fast fashion retailer is selling counterfeit versions of its shoulder bag.

Fast Retailing, the Japanese giant that owns Uniqlo and Theory, He said in a statement The shape of the “counterfeit products” being sold by Shein “looks very similar” to Uniqlo’s small round shoulder bag, which went viral on TikTok and other social media platforms in 2022 and 2023, to the point of being sold multiple times.

The crescent-shaped bag, which is worn on the torso and costs just $20, was so popular that it appeared in the fashion world. Media headlines around the world It ranked first in the ranking of the most popular products of the fashion technology company Lyst in the first quarter of 2023.

A woman walks past a rack of small round shoulder bags spread out at a Uniqlo store in Tokyo, Japan, on January 16, 2024.
richard a. BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images

But the popularity of this product has also inspired a wave of copycats, which… Uniqlo prompted the warning on its website They are investigating the alleged copies and may take legal action.

The lawsuit against Shein was filed in Tokyo on December 28 and named three of the brand's operators (Roadget Business Pte, Fashion Choice Pte and Shein Japan), according to a Fast Retailing statement.

It demands “the immediate cessation of sales of counterfeit products, and compensation for the damages suffered by the company as a result of these sales.”

The statement added that the sale of these counterfeit products “significantly” undermined customer confidence in “the quality of the Uniqlo brand and products,” and that Fast Retailing takes a “firm stance” against any infringement of its intellectual property.

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In a statement to CNN, a Shein spokesperson said the company is “currently investigating this matter.”

“Shein respects the intellectual property rights of others and takes all claims of infringement seriously,” it said.

The shoulder bag first started trending on TikTok in 2022 and continued to gain popularity into 2023, with video creators praising its versatility, roominess, and affordability.

The most popular bag TikToks have racked up millions of views, from style tips to “what’s in my bag” videos, unboxings and item reviews. As of Wednesday, the hashtag #uniqlobag on TikTok had more than 133.2 million views.

in Investor report for the third quarter of 2023, Fast Retailer credited the shoulder bag with generating “huge interest on social media” and expanding its customer base among women and younger shoppers.

This is not the first time Sheen has faced legal action or controversy. Last year, three graphic designers sued the US retailer alleging this Copyright infringement and extortionClaiming that Shein sold exact copies of her designs.

At the time, a Sheen spokesperson said the company would “vigorously defend us against this lawsuit and any unfounded allegations.”

In December, so was Shane He filed a lawsuit against his competitor Timoalso a Chinese-owned e-commerce site, which alleged that Shein used aggressive and illegal tactics to thwart competition, the latest development in an ongoing legal battle between the two.