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Copyright Clash: H&M vs. Shein - Unmasking the Irony of Fashion Giants Copying Creators

As a lawyer turned inventor and founder of RobeCurls, I have witnessed my fair share of legal battles in the world of intellectual property. However, the recent lawsuit between fashion giants H&M and Shein has left me both intrigued and appalled by the irony it entails. Both parties, notorious for their guilt in copyright infringement and intellectual property theft, are now at loggerheads over precisely that - copyright infringement. It is a tale of two giants who have built their empires on the imitation of others, now embroiled in a legal showdown over their very own stolen designs.

The H&M v.s. Shein lawsuit stands as a testament to the urgent need for reform to effectively protect intellectual property in the digital, global economy. It is a call for greater accountability, transparency, and respect for intellectual property rights. As I continue to fight for the protection of RobeCurls, I hope this legal battle will spark a broader discussion and lead to a positive change that benefits all creative minds in the industry. Only then can we truly nurture a culture of innovation and fair competition in fashion, ensuring that the creations of talented inventors and designers are celebrated, not stolen.


It’s a fast-fashion legal face-off.

  • Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), widely recognized as H&M, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Chinese e-commerce giant, Shein, and its Hong Kong-based owners.
  • The legal action was prompted by H&M's assertion that Shein's garments bore an uncomfortably close resemblance to their own designs, suggesting a clear case of copying.
  • The lawsuit highlighted the sheer magnitude of Shein's unauthorized replication of copyrighted works, an operation that churns out an astonishing 6,000 new styles per day.
  • Notably, Shein is a privately held company and does not disclose its financial information. However, reports suggest that it is targeting a goal of achieving $60 billion in revenues by 2025, and there have been rumors of a potential IPO in the U.S.
  • This recent lawsuit is not the only legal battle Shein is facing regarding copyright infringement. On July 13, three independent artists from California also sued Shein for producing and selling exact replicas of their creative work. The artists contend that this "egregious" copyright infringement amounts to racketeering under the U.S. RICO Act.
  • It is intriguing to witness H&M taking on the role of the plaintiff in this lawsuit, considering that they have previously faced many copyright infringement cases themselves, accusing the retail giant of appropriating their creations.


As I sit back and ponder over this legal spectacle, I cannot help but be reminded of the adage, "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." H&M and Shein, both immensely successful fashion retailers, have long faced accusations of copying designs from smaller, independent brands. They have been held liable for producing knockoffs and counterfeits, leading to significant reputational damage and financial losses for the original creators. The irony couldn't be more apparent - they have been caught red-handed, stealing intellectual property, and now find themselves on the receiving end of a similar accusation.

In my journey as an inventor, I have experienced first-hand the frustration and dismay caused by copyright infringement, and beyond. RobeCurls, a product of ingenuity and countless hours of hard work, has not been immune to the clutches of counterfeiters. At our peak we had 3,000 new sellers each week listing knockoffs of our product. Shein was recently amongst the list of infringers, until our legal team got it removed. The feeling of seeing cheap imitations flooding the market, stealing our thunder and profiting from our hard work, is disheartening, to say the least.

With this lawsuit, H&M has taken a stand against Shein's alleged design theft, and I must commend them for that. However, it is impossible to ignore their own questionable track record when it comes to copying designs from other brands. It is as if two thieves are accusing each other of stealing - a bizarre and ironic twist that highlights the murky waters of the fashion industry's intellectual property battles.

This lawsuit filed by H&M could indeed signal a significant shift in their practices, and a warning signal for the harm being done by copyright infringement and the consolidation of power into the hands of a few. As small designers, we often find ourselves facing an uphill David v. Goliath battle when our designs are copied by these large companies, who possess the resources to produce items faster, more cheaply, and sell to their massive audiences. It is evident that H&M is experiencing the impact of Shein's faster and cheaper production capabilities to a degree that warrants legal action.

While it may be total wishful thinking, this legal battle might lead H&M to be more respectful of small designers' creations and potentially deter them from acting as a bad actor in the future.

Moreover, if H&M emerges successful in this lawsuit, it could serve as a warning to Shein and make them more cautious about copyright infringement moving forward. However, there is also the higher possibility that the cost of litigation versus the revenue generated from selling copycat products might outweigh any deterrent effect.

As a small designer and founder of RobeCurls, I find this legal battle to be incredibly ironic, given both parties' questionable track records in copyright infringement. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that this lawsuit will spark a broader discussion about intellectual property rights in the fashion industry and prompt policy changes that protect the creative work of small designers like us. Let us watch closely as this legal drama unfolds, hoping for a fair resolution that benefits creators and upholds the value of originality in the fashion world.

The fashion world is a hotbed of creativity, innovation, and expression. Independent designers and the rare inventor, like myself, pour our hearts and souls into creating unique products that resonate with consumers. We deserve the right to safeguard our creations from unscrupulous companies seeking to profit from our ideas without giving credit where it is due.

We are on a mission


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