According to relevant media broke the news, recently, SHEIN has once again fallen into a plagiarism storm. However, this time the topic of boycotting SHEIN seems to have gained a lot of attention on Tiktok.
The media said that just last week, the designer of the fashion brand Elixiay posted on Twitter that SHEIN had copied the design of their Amelia top. Elexiay said that the original Nigerian hand-made clothes were originally priced at US$330. When they arrived at SHEIN, they were mass-produced with almost the same color and design. They were sold for US$17 before they were complained of being off the shelves.
Of course, this is not the first time SHEIN has been accused of infringement.
In June of this year, SHEIN sold boots and Dr. Martens brand products are very similar to the defendant because the earrings sold are very similar to Kikay products. In 2018, because the jeans back pocket pattern design is very similar to Levi Strauss, they also put Levi’s. Changed to LOVE defendant…
Of course, there are still many small retailers complaining about SHEIN infringement, so why has SHEIN been caught in a storm of infringement? For FMCG, is there really no way to deal with infringement? In this regard, Leifeng.com consulted Mr. Yu (pseudonym), a senior industry figure in cross-border e-commerce.
“This matter is scored in two ways.” Mr. Yu said that on the one hand, SHEIN’s internals is now completely systemic, that is, there are countless teams inside SHEIN, and each team does its own research and development, competitive product analysis, etc. There is no way to be sure that all products are purely original, and SHEIN can be controlled in the process. However, there is no way to verify where the designer’s inspiration comes from, only to deal with problems one by one.
On the other hand, the law does not allow clothing companies to apply for patent protection for the entire product. In other words, designers cannot request copyright protection for all sweaters just because they make sweaters, but they can apply for copyrights for features that distinguish them from other products, such as logos, patterns, etc. For original creators, if they want to apply for copyright protection, they have to dismantle their ideas.
“Companies like Zara, Zaful focus on tracking and imitate designs that are not protected by patents.” Mr. Yu said that now is the era of ultra-fast fashion, and everyone compares brand marketing power, especially in the fast-moving consumer goods industry, the brand itself Becomes particularly important, not the cost of the product.
Although SHEIN has been accused of infringement, it does not prevent it from becoming the first in the apparel industry. It is indeed difficult to defend the rights of categories such as clothing, and it is difficult to define the original boundaries of non-standard products. However, in the face of “infringement” by giants, independent brand designers still have ways to defend their rights.
For example, the designer can issue a warning letter to the brand, or reach a settlement with the brand outside the court, which can force the company to remove related products from the store and can also pay the designer a certain amount.
Fast-moving consumer goods companies have a significant “advantage” that is cheap. Therefore, when faced with clothing that looks similar to the design, ordinary consumers cannot be expected to spend hundreds of dollars on originals with cheaper options.
It is correct to raise awareness of original copyright, but considering the brand influence of SHEIN’s audience and FMCG giants, there is a long way to go for independent designers to defend their rights.