A China-founded fast fashion retailer that has taken global e-commerce by storm is reportedly facing dozens of lawsuits accusing it of copyright infringement.
Shein, which apparently has aspirations to list shares on Wall Street, has had nearly 100 copyright cases filed against it to date, according to a Friday report in the Financial Times that cited legal filings.
The company that sells fashion for extremely cheap prices has regularly faced criticism of allowing its vendors to copy the designs of others and sell for far less.
Reports emerged late last year that Shein had confidentially filed to go public and had been valued at $66 billion in a fundraising last May. Such a U.S. listing could be the biggest for Wall Street in several years.
Reuters reported last month that Shein was working to get Beijing’s approval for a U.S. listing. Citing sources, the report said though, that there had been no response yet by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to that IPO filing.
Some U.S. lawmakers have voiced opposition to Shein, which has also faced criticism over ethical and environmental concerns. Last year, a group of bipartisan lawmakers demanded a halt to any IPO consideration by the SEC until Shein can prove it doesn’t use forced labor. Shein has refuted those allegations.
“Shein’s lack of transparency, seemingly illegal business practices and allegations of unethical conduct, like IP theft, may be OK in Communist China but won’t fly in the United States,” Florida Republican senator Rick Scott told the FT.
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According to Open Secrets, which tracks lobbying expenditures, Shein spent $230,000 on lobbying in the U.S. in 2023, and $2.1 million in 2024.
A Financial Times analysis found that 93 U.S. lawsuits had been filed against Shein since 2018 and 30 new ones added last year as well as legal action elsewhere. Japan-based Uniqlo, owned by Fast Retailing
filed a lawsuit against the retailer last month over its trademark Round Mini Shoulder Bag.
In a comment to MarketWatch, a Shein spokesperson said the company takes seriously any infringement claims.
“We are continually investing in our review process and, as a result, have seen a substantial decrease in claims. We are committed to driving industry-wide advancement. SHEIN suppliers and third-party sellers are required to comply with company policy and certify their products do not infringe third-party IP,” said the spokesperson.
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