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| 1 minute read

Shein sued for copying THAT Uniqlo bag, but, in a design so simple, what is there to copy?

The status of the Uniqlo Round Mini Shoulder Bag cannot be overstated.  It went viral on TikTok with over 59 million views, and it was named number 1 Hottest Product on The Lyst Index Q1 2023.

The bag is beloved because of it's simplistic design, sturdy construction, deceptive capacity, and new colourways every season,.

But can you enforce intellectual property rights in something with so little visual detail?

Well, even the simplest of designs can enjoy copyright and design protection, sufficient to prevent third parties from reproducing the design.

Uniqlo's parent company, Fast Retailing, seem to agree.

Fast Retailing is taking a “resolute stance” on enforcing their intellectual property rights in the Round Mini Shoulder Bag, suing fast fashion giant Shein over claims that they are selling products that “copy the form” of the bag.

Design rights can protect, among other things, the shape of a product.  

When considering design infringement, the overall look and feel of a product is often pertinent.  As in this case, the look and feel may be simple, sleek, minimalist, etc.  While it is obvious that a decorative elements can be considered design features, the absence of decorative elements may also be a feature of a design.

Something not so simple is the job of Shein's legal representatives, as the number of intellectual property related law suits brought against them ever increases  …but you could probably still fit them all in the Round Mini Shoulder Bag.

The legal case filed in Tokyo alleges that some Shein bags "closely resemble" Uniqlo's own and could dent customer confidence in the brand.


copyright, designs, fashion & retail, yes