Last Friday, news broke that Singapore retailer IUIGA has been sued by Japanese competitor MUJI on grounds of “trademark infringement and passing-off under Singapore law”.
MUJI was reported to be “seeking for orders to stop the use of the MUJI trademark in IUIGA’s statements” and “seeking compensation for damages and losses”.
According to MUJI, its manufacturing contractors have also “denied manufacturing or supplying products to IUIGA”.
In response to the accusations, IUIGA’s chief growth officer Jaslyn Chan 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 (ODMs) 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”.
Today, IUIGA got in touch with us, and asserted that they “are working with manufacturers that also work with MUJI”.
In the statement, IUIGA added that their bean bag sofa is made by the same manufacturer of MUJI’s bean bag sofa, but the product listing was revised “because IUIGA has been informed by the manufacturers that MUJI has pressured them to have IUIGA remove the label”.
“Given that MUJI’s business still occupies a large portion of the manufacturer’s overall revenue, IUIGA is in no position to work against their manufacturers, and they acceded to [the] manufacturer’s request in taking down the label.”
IUIGA also brought up the example of their eyelash curler, stating that while it is “indeed from MUJI’s manufacturer”, it is not the manufacturer that MUJI is taking stocks from.
“MUJI works with many manufacturers, some of which have overlapping expertise. This product is produced by one of MUJI’s plastic manufacturers that also supplies to IUIGA.”
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.
Lastly, IUIGA revealed that they are currently in the midst of preparing a list of manufacturers that both IUIGA and MUJI work with.
This list will be released to media at a later date, so watch this space for updates.