According to Business Insider, Japanese retailer Ryohin Keikaku (better known as MUJI) has sued Singapore retailer IUIGA for “trademark infringement and passing-off under Singapore law”.
In an interview with the publication, MUJI’s president Satoru Matsuzaki revealed that the lawsuit was filed in late January with Singapore’s courts.
MUJI will be “seeking for orders to stop the use of the MUJI trademark in IUIGA’s statements” and also “seeking compensation for damages and losses”.
This is most likely in reference to how IUIGA uses statements like “MUJI Same Manufacturer” on its website and physical store.
A quick check on its website also shows that it advertises itself as having “searched the world for the best undiscovered manufacturers”.
“We requested IUIGA to disclose information on their manufacturing factories to verify their statements. However, we did not receive any response,” said a MUJI’s spokesperson.
According to MUJI, its manufacturing contractors have also “denied manufacturing or supplying products to IUIGA”.
MUJI was investigating claims that a “third party” was able to sell items made by MUJI’s contracted manufacturers in late 2018.
Business Insider contacted IUIGA’s chief growth officer Jaslyn Chan, who insisted that the company “maintains that they have done nothing wrong” and that “the information on their website is factually accurate and their manufacturing processes are legal”.
Chan also stated that they work with “original design manufacturers and that there is no direct ownership of the product by any single brand entity, allowing the original design manufacturers to produce for more than one brand”.
“This is what IUIGA means when they say a certain product is from the ‘same manufacturer as Brand A’,” she said.
Chan also denied that they are using another brand’s tags or contact numbers.
“As clarified for all of IUIGA’s products, the design rights belong to (the) manufacturer and they are free to work with any other brand. As such, IUIGA is not infringing on design or product rights.”