SHEIN Accuses Shopping App Temu of Impersonation Scheme in Trademark Lawsuit
E-commerce platform Shein is waging a court battle against Temu, its newest fast-fashion and lifestyle competitor in the U.S.
According to the lawsuit claims that ‘false and deceptive statements’ were made against Shein by social media influencers hired by Temu.
According to the amended complaint that Roadget Business Pte. Ltd., the owner of SHEIN’s trademarks in the U.S., filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, marketplace platform Temu – via its owner PDD Holdings Inc. and WhaleCo, Inc. and – has, “willfully and flagrantly infringed SHEIN’s exclusive and valuable trademark and copyright rights,” and engaged in a scheme to boost its own growth in the American market by “impersonating the SHEIN brand on social media, trading off of the well-known SHEIN trademarks, and using copyrighted images owned by Roadget as part of its own product listings.”
Aware of the well-known SHEIN brand and its success in the U.S. market, it was alleged that PDD Holdings-owned Temu launched its U.S. online shopping site on 1 September, 2022.
However, instead of “fairly competing” with SHEIN “by, for example, offering comparable products at a lower price or by offering a more diverse array of products for selection and purchase by consumers.
Roadget claimed that Temu has “deliberately engaged in unfair competition by exploiting the SHEIN brand,” and the similarity of the two companies and their models has not been lost on the media, with Roadget stating that “multiple independent publications have compared Temu to SHEIN and one even called Temu ‘a SHEIN imitator.”
With its alleged aim of “diverting consumers and business away” from purchasing SHEIN-branded goods in favor of its own apparel and accessories offerings, Roadget claims that Temu has embarked on a deliberate scheme of impersonating, or aiding and abetting the impersonation of, SHEIN.
In particular, Roadget alleged that Temu has established and used imposter Twitter accounts that contained SHEIN trademarks in the handles.
With the foregoing in mind, Roadget lodged the trademark counterfeiting and infringement, trademark dilution, and copyright infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition, contributory false advertising, copyright infringement, trademark dilution, deceptive trade practices, product disparagement and trade libel, and unjust enrichment claims, and is seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages.
Temu as against the allegations, filed a partial motion to dismiss February, 2023, in which took issue with Roadget’s copyright claims (on the basis that some of the allegedly infringed images are not registered, a prerequisite to bringing infringement claims in federal court), as well as its false advertising and trade libel claims.
Additionally, Temu stated that SHEIN merely alleges the existence of a social media campaign that gives influencers free products to promote through social media. There is nothing actionable about Temu finding influencers who believe Temu compares favorably to SHEIN, or asking them to share those opinions with a headline clearly highlighting their enthusiasm about Temu.
Temu emphasized in an opposition to Roadget’s motion for a preliminary injunction that SHEIN was seeking relief in connection with events that are either “entirely lawful” and that SHEIN, itself, engages in (including bidding on competitors’ names for Google Ads) or events that ‘Temu was not responsible for’ and/or has already stopped.
Specifically, Temu asserted that it did not create the three fake Twitter accounts and “did not induce others to create them.”
Lastly, Temu claimed that it did not benefit from these posts or accounts.