Swedish fashion retailer H&M has filed a lawsuit against its Chinese rival Shein, accusing it of counterfeiting several of its designs.
Hennes & Mauritz AB is demanding damages and an injunction at the Hong Kong High Court, to prevent fast-fashion retailer Shein from infringing its copyright and trademarks. The summons dates back to July 2021, Bloomberg News reports, and is now confirmed by the Swedish retailer.
Details of the lawsuit were released after a hearing on 21 June. They include photos of dozens of items, from swimwear to jumpers, that according to H&M prove Shein stole its designs. The next hearing will take place on 31 July.
This is not the first time Shein has been accused of plagiarism: more than a dozen lawsuits have been filed in the US alone this year against the Chinese fashion company for alleged intellectual property violations, according to Bloomberg. Usually, these end in an out-of-court settlement.
The fact that H&M is now openly attacking its fast-growing rival, is remarkable – but not incomprehensible in the light of increasing competition in the fashion market: with its ultra-cheap products, Shein wants to become bigger than H&M and Zara combined. The Chinese platform wants to go public this year, but has come under fire not only for copyright violations but also for highly questionable working conditions and a lack of transparency.