SHEIN lands after receiving end of Stussy infringement lawsuit
Stussy is the latest brand to name Shein in a trademark infringement and infringement lawsuit. According to the lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in California, Stussy alleges that its trademarks – including (but not limited to) its stylized brand name – are “widely recognized and understood to represent [its] excellent reputation and products” and that by using them without its authorization on clothing and footwear, Shein is “knowingly and intentionally” infringing these marks “in an attempt to confuse and mislead customers” from Stussy for its own profit.
In the newly filed lawsuit, Stussy claims Shein is charged with trademark infringement and infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition in connection with its sale of products bearing “close copies and reproductions of the STUSSY trademarks.” By using the “Stussy” trademark in a manner that is “virtually identical to genuine STUSSY trademarks” on apparel and footwear, for which Stussy holds federal trademark registrations, Stussy claims that the Chinese giant’s use of the fast mode goes beyond brand counterfeiting and reaches the high bar of counterfeiting. However, “to hide [its] counterfeit products,” Stussy claims that in at least some instances, Shein “avoids using the term ‘Stussy’ in connection with [the listings for] its counterfeit Stussy products.
Unlike other trademark cases, the harm at stake as a result of Shein’s alleged sale of products bearing the Stussy trademark is accentuated here, by Stussy, because of the significant value of the brand’s trademarks. The STUSSY brands – which “have come to represent and symbolize the excellent reputation of [its] products and valuable goodwill among members of the public around the world” – are “more valuable than ordinary brands”, claims the 42-year-old skate/surf brand, given that “Stussy’s business model is to create an exclusive brand with limited distribution.”
As a result of this pattern, which sees him offer a downside limit to his goods in order to court sustained and outsized demand, Stussy claims that there is “great unmet demand for [its] products and for products with [its] see.” And though he carefully crafted his strategy to include such limited amounts of product, Stussy says Shein “attempted[ed] to fill the market for Stussy’s products” through its copycat products.
Shein “damaged Stussy’s valuable clientele, created risk of confusion, actually confused the public, and otherwise harmed Stussy’s business” through his alleged violations”, causing Stussy to suffer “serious harm and harm “, including loss of profits and other damages. With this in mind and given that Shein allegedly “made illegal profits as a result of [the] aforementioned acts,” Stussy is seeking to exonerate Shein from any corresponding profits. In addition, Stussy is seeking an injunction to temporarily and permanently restrain Shein from infringing or diluting its trademark “or using or causing the use of any word, term, name, symbol, device, or combination thereof. which causes or is likely to cause confusion, error or deception”.
The case comes as companies, such as Stussy, Supreme and other streetwear/skatewear, have built major businesses on a model that sees them regularly “drop” limited amounts of new products, a tactic that has since been adopted in much of fashion. industry and beyond. The result has come in the form of lasting demand – and a robust resale market for these products – but at the same time, has resulted in widespread copying aimed at filling the void left intentionally by these brands regarding the consumer demand.
Supreme, for example, has been plagued by considerable efforts to build on the smashing demand – and relatively limited supply – for its branded products, with companies like Supreme Italia, for example, playing on global demand. of Supreme and its markedly unhurried expansion efforts. outside of a few US cities and a handful of international capitals, in order to “to win over less informed fans of the streetwear brand and convince retailers and stores that they were buying originals,” said Italian intellectual property lawyer Silvia Grazioli of Bugnion SpA in one of the cases of Supreme against IBF, the creator of Supreme Italia.
While a seemingly inevitable side effect of the strictly limited edition product strategy that dominates the streetwear/skatewear space is a thriving market for counterfeit products, brands like Stussy and Supreme have filed lawsuits to protect their valuable indicators of source, with Stussy somewhat consistently. filing trademark-centric lawsuits dating back to at least 2000, and Supreme’s corporate entity, Chapter 4 Corp., on the other hand, stepping up its fight against infringements in recent years through a growing number of lawsuits brought in the United States from 2018.
A representative for Shein was not immediately available for comment in response to the Stussy lawsuit.
The case is Stussy, Inc. v. Shein Corp., 8:22-cv-00379 (CDCal.).